CORONAVIRUS case rates are on the rise again in Gwent - and the situation is causing concern in Welsh Government and among health experts, said First minister Mark Drakeford.

Currently, Blaenau Gwent has the highest rolling seven-day case rate per 100,000 people in Wales, at 365, with that in Newport having topped 200 again, and the Caerphilly rate having risen too.

All three areas, along with Torfaen and to a lesser extent Monmouthshire, have seen case rates increase during this week, after some days of decrease, and Blaenau Gwent now has a significantly higher rolling case rate than Merthyr Tydfil (245.3), where mass testing will be introduced from Saturday.


By contrast with Gwent, other areas in Wales, notably in the north, are seeing case rates coming down.

Asked about the issue by the South Wales Argus at today's Welsh Government coronavirus briefing, Mr Drakeford acknowledged that they are looking at these areas "very seriously", and would be working to establish why they are seeing rising numbers of cases while other areas of Wales are seeing cases fall.

"It's a matter of concern to us that we have seen in the last few days the beginning of a creeping up in some parts of Gwent," he said.

"It's important to get under the bonnet of some of those figures because they can sometimes be driven by very specific things, like an outbreak in a care home or a workplace.

"Work is going on at the moment with the local IMT (Incident Management Teams) to make sure that we have a proper understanding as to whether or not those figures are the first signs of an early return of community wide transmission, or whether they can be explained by those more specific events that you can deal with through the TTP (Test Trace Protect) system more easily.

"The numbers are early numbers, so I don't want to put too much weight on them, but I do want to say that we are concerned and we are taking them very seriously."

Mr Drakeford said he was "anxious" amid reports of people acting like "coronavirus had disappeared" after the firebreak, adding "coronavirus remains a deadly disease."