THE coronavirus situation in Wales is "very serious", the chief medical officer has warned.

Dr Frank Atherton highlighted "widespread" transmission in the community as he explained the two reasons behind increasing coronavirus numbers across the country.

The chief medical officer for Wales appeared alongside NHS Wales chief executive, Dr Andrew Goodall, at the Welsh Government coronavirus briefing this afternoon.

Dr Atherton said: "The situation in Wales is very serious at the moment.

"We are seeing cases of coronavirus in all parts of Wales at high rates."

The current incidence rate across Wales is around 480 cases per 100,000 people, which Dr Atherton said was "way too high".

He also revealed that one in four tests carried out in Wales over recent days was coming back positive, which showed "there is very widespread transmission in our communities".

Dr Atherton laid out the two reasons for the continuing spread of the virus across the country.

He said: "One is too much population mixing and the other is there is a new variant strain.

"In the week before Christmas we learned about the new variant. It has subsequently appeared in North and South Wales.

"It is more infections than the previous strain.

"We continue to learn more about the new strain.

"One good thing about the new variant is that we do not believe, on current evidence, that it is a more serious illness.

"But we are really worried about it because it is so infectious."

South Wales Argus:

A Welsh Government chart shows how the new coronavirus strain has spread in Wales since December 7.

Dr Andrew Goodall, chief executive of NHS Wales also spoke, expressing his concern.

Dr Goodall said: "NHS Wales is under immense pressure.

"We need to act together to control and reduce the levels of coronavirus in our communities.

"If we don't we may see the number of people being admitted overwhelm the NHS in the coming weeks.

"Please help us to help you."


The last few weeks, he said, had been "extremely difficult".

There are now almost 2,800 coronavirus patients in Welsh hospitals, the highest number on record.

If the trend continues, the number in hospital will be twice the peak in April, Dr Goodall warned.

The number of coronavirus patients in critical care is also at its highest.