THE OMICRON variant of coronavirus is spreading the community in Gwent, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s director of public health has confirmed.

Dr Sarah Aitken gave an update on the coronavirus situation across the health board region, as new restrictions are set to come into force from December 27.

Dr Aitken also encouraged people to take up the offer of the vaccine as Wales ramps up its booster jab programme – aiming to offer all eligible people the booster before the turn of the year.


“Our local data suggests that it is spreading in our communities and that the numbers of cases are increasing quickly in line with what the scientists are telling us about how transmissible it is,” she said.

“But there are lots of things we can do to keep ourselves, our families, and our friends safe over this Christmas period.

“Most importantly is to be fully vaccinated. Our staff are working really hard to offer an appointment for a booster vaccination to everyone who is eligible before the end of December.

“I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you to them all for their tireless efforts to be able to double the amount of people we’re vaccinating over a very short period of time.”

Regular testing before going out to socialise, or to busy public places, as well as keeping to socialising in small groups, social distancing, wearing a mask and keeping windows open when meeting inside are all other important ways to help stop the spread of coronavirus, Dr Aitken said.

“If we all do the simple things and if we prioritise the social contacts that matter to us most, we can still enjoy this Christmas safely,” she said.

“The way people have pulled together throughout the pandemic has been incredible and I would like to say thank you to you all for making good choices over the last 21 months.

“Please continue to make those good choices and enjoy a safe and very happy Christmas.”