CORONAVIRUS is "burning much brighter" in Gwent than anywhere else in Wales, the health minister has warned.

Vaughan Gething said rising coronavirus rates across the region are "a real cause of concern" for the Welsh Government, as they plan for the future.

The health minister added that if there was not a "significant levelling down" of rates over the next few weeks, further restrictions could be introduced in the lead up to Christmas.

Mr Gething was speaking to the health, social care and sport committee as he singled out Gwent as a problem area for the coronavirus.

Asked about the success of the Welsh Government's two week firebreak lockdown, Mr Gething said: "The firebreak delivered what it was meant to deliver.

"We are seeing a rise now, and it is a relatively modest rise across the whole country at present.

"We did say that if we could have a more suppressed growth in the virus then we could keep ourselves in a position where we would be able to cope until the end of the year and then regather ourselves.

"The challenge is that in some parts of Wales we are seeing a more significant growth.


"For example, coronavirus is burning much brighter in Gwent than in other parts of the country and that gives us a real cause for concern.

"It is not just Blaenau Gwent as has been mentioned, it is all the Gwent authorities that are seeing a rise."

The health minister said that the bulk of the rise was being "driven largely by younger adults".

But expressed concerns that they would pass the virus on to older, more vulnerable people.

He added that he expected to see higher coronavirus rates and higher hospital admissions over the next few weeks as a result.

Mr Gething also said he was unable to rule out further restrictions being introduced prior to Christmas.

Yesterday, ministers from the Welsh, Scottish, Northern Ireland and UK Governments agreed to relax coronavirus restrictions for the five days around Christmas, allowing up to three households to mix.

But on the build up to the festive period, Mr Gething said: "At this point I cannot say that I am 100 per cent confident that we won't need to do something before Christmas.

"In fact if we do not se a significant levelling down then we may have to so something different before Christmas."