EVERY area in Wales, except for Powys, has recorded cases of the coronavirus variant first identified in India, Wales' chief medical officer has confirmed.

A total of 57 cases of the Indian variant have been identified in Wales, said Dr Frank Atherton.

This is more than double the number confirmed by Public Health Wales on May 12 - less than two weeks ago - and is more than third higher than the 41 that First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed in an update on social media last Wednesday.

Dr Atherton said the cases in Wales have been contained in small clusters and there is no evidence so far of widespread community transmission, as has been the case in England and Scotland.


"We're keeping a very close watch on the so-called Indian variant," he said.

"There are currently around 57 cases have been identified here in Wales. The number is going up and has gone up over the last few days.

"It's something we have to watch very carefully.

"Of the 57, the majority at the moment are in Cardiff and Vale health board. All health boards have seen cases of the so-called Indian variant, except for Powys.

"The important thing is that in Wales these are all traceable back to a point of entry so we can manage them as clusters. That's a really important point because if we look across the border into England and certainly up into Scotland - in the Glasgow area - what seems to be happening there is that there is broader widespread community transmission.

"That's a much more difficult thing of course to contain, whereas here in Wales we’re managing them as clusters around points of entry.

"Our response has been managed through our local public health teams and the incident management teams that they have established. They are doing an excellent job in tracing, in testing, and in promoting vaccinations in areas where we are seeing the variant being transmitted.

"The aim here is to break those chains of transmission so that we don't get widespread community transmission here in Wales."

New health minister Eluned Morgan advised people to take up the offer of the vaccine, after a Public Health England study found the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were highly effective against the variant after both doses.

"We are at a state now where we've got 80 per cent of adults in Wales who have received their first dose, we've got third of adults in Wales who received their second dose, and even 50 per cent of people from 18 to 29 have received their first dose," she said. "We're really doing incredibly well in Wales and that's the best way for us to really deal with this new variant that is causing some concern among scientists at the moment."

When asked about restricting travel to hotspots in England, Ms Morgan said: "We haven’t made any decisions to restrict travel to those hotspots in England as a government but obviously we will be constantly keeping the situation under review."