WALES' Chief Medical Officer has sounded "a very cautious note of optimism" over the coronavirus situation here, while warning that this is a disease that always has 'a sting in the tail'.

Dr Frank Atherton told today's Welsh Government coronavirus briefing there are encouraging signs that coronavirus is "beginning to stabilise".

But he urges caution over interpretation of figures that suggest a small fall in overall rates of infection in Wales in recent days.

This is because a longer period of reduction is needed before any clear downward trend can be hailed, and also because Wales is having to cope with the new strain of Covid-19, which can be transmitted very quickly from person to person.

The new Covid-19 strain has been more prevalent in north Wales to date.

The current weekly case rate in Wales is 416.8 per 100,000 population, down on a week ago, but in parts of north Wales such as Wrexham and Flintshire, it is increasing and is way above that all-Wales average.


By comparison, case numbers and case rates have fallen this week across Gwent, albeit from some very high levels, and they remain much too high.

"[But] there's always a sting in the tail with coronavirus," said Dr Atherton, adding that it is unknown yet how much further spread there will be in south Wales of the new strain.

"The situation remains very serious, and we are still dealing with the added factor of the new, highly-contagious strain of the virus.

“Over the course of the last few days, we have seen a small fall in the overall rate of the virus.”

Around 20 per cent, or one-in-five, of coronavirus tests are now coming back positive, Dr Atherton said, compared to 25 per cent, or one in four a week ago.

“This is heading in the right direction but is still way too high,” he said.

Deaths from coronavirus in Wales based on the confirmation system used by Public Health Wales topped 4,000 today, another unwanted milestone, and Dr Atherton said: "It's easy to see those just as numbers, but behind each of them is a family grieving."