WITH the firebreak period behind us, concerns have been expressed that coronavirus rates are rising again.

Particular focus has been on Gwent, and the increase in incidence rates here.

Health minister Vaughan Gething highlighted a "worrying increase" in some areas, singling out Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Torfaen, and Newport in particular.

While first minister Mark Drakeford noted the increase in Newport East while speaking in the Senedd on Tuesday.

He said: “The Newport East constituency, as many areas of Wales, has seen a high incidence of coronavirus infection.

“A national firebreak was introduced to bring rates of incidence down across Wales.

"Some of the gains achieved are already being reversed in the post-firebreak period.”

The weekly incidence rates, reported by Public Health Wales, suggest that, while the firebreak did have an impact on coronavirus rates, the spread is beginning to increase again.

Rates across Gwent, and in Wales as whole, dropped significantly between the first week of the firebreak lockdown and the second.

The biggest fall was seen in Blaenau Gwent, which fell from 561 cases per 100,000 residents to 288 per 100,000.

Since coming out of lockdown, the rate for Wales as a whole has continued to fall.

In the first week after the firebreak was lifted, the rate steadied at 169, before falling again last week to 151.

However, in Gwent, only Caerphilly had a lower incidence rate last week compared to the final week of the firebreak.

In that two week period, Blaenau Gwent has risen from 288 to 347, Monmouthshire has jumped to 112 from 104, Newport has spiked to 230 from 124, and Torfaen has increased from 148 to 183.

Monmouthshire is now the only area of Gwent with a lower incidence rate than the average across Wales.

South Wales Argus:

Darren Hughes, Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation said: “It is worrying to see once again that younger people are contracting the virus.

"As we know, while this group of people are at less risk of serious harm from the virus, it will not be long until the virus makes its way to older generations in our communities.

“It is important that we behave safely to take care of ourselves and our families over the next few weeks.

"If we do not it will have an impact on the number of hospitalisations and sadly, deaths.

“We welcome the Minister outlining how people may be able to visit their elderly relatives within care home settings.


"One of the indirect harms from the measures we are taking is the wellbeing of people in vulnerable groups, so we know families and individuals will benefit greatly from these measures, while still keeping people safe and the virus under control.

“Everyone in Wales can help us keep coronavirus under control.

"We know people have made, and continue to make, incredible sacrifices this year, but it will be vital we keep this momentum up until we can deploy an effective and safe vaccine.

“Leaders across the NHS are concerned at the rise in misinformation surrounding the potential vaccine candidates. Our message is simple, we will never administer any vaccine which is not safe.”