UK News Welsh supermarkets told to only sell 'essential goods' in new lockdown
People in Covid hotspots in England face being BANNED from Wales
Mark Drakeford will write to the PM today and urge him to stop people from making non-essential journeys to Wales from areas in England with high infection rates.Mark Drakeford will write to the PM today and urge him to stop people from making non-essential journeys to Wales from areas in England that are under Tier 3, 'Very High', restrictions.
Welsh supermarkets have been ordered to only sell 'essential goods' to customers during the country's 17-day lockdown.
Stores will be told they are unable to sell items such as clothes to shoppers, and to prioritise other products deemed to be more important.
It means a likely return to the scenes witnessed at the beginning of the pandemic when there were rows over the contents of people's shopping trollies.
Wales will be entering into a 'short, sharp' national lockdown from October 23 until November 9 - here's what to expect
First Minister Mark Drakeford has said the 'time-limited firebreak' would be 'a short, sharp, shock to turn back the clock, slow down the virus and buy us more time'
Traffic flows between England and Wales on first day of travel ban
The ban, which came into force at 6pm on Friday, makes it an offence to enter to Wales from coronavirus hotspots in the UK but there is still no sign of any high-visibility patrols to deter travel.The ban, which came into force at 6pm on Friday, makes it an offence to travel to Wales from coronavirus hotspots in the UK.
He told a press conference that the NHS would buckle under pressure and not cope unless drastic action is taken
The lockdown which comes into force on Friday means the following restrictions will be in place:
People must stay at home at except for limited purposes such as exercise.
Employees should work from home wherever possible.
Pubs, restaurants, hotels and non-essential shops must remain closed.
Face masks must be worn when indoors as well as public transport.
Unless you live in the same household, gatherings such as Halloween both indoors and outdoors with other people will be banned.
While primary schools will reopen after the half-term break, only Years 7 and 8 secondary school pupils can return under the new rules.
Wales could go into lockdown from FRIDAY
The details of the plan were contained in a letter from John Pockett, a regional director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, to its members in Wales, which was posted on Twitter. In the letter, dated October 16, John Pockett writes: 'The Welsh Government will announce on Monday a 'circuit break' lockdown to begin at 1800 on Friday 23 October and continue in force until 0001 on Monday 9 November.'We have met with officials this morning, but as this is a very fast moving situation with decisions still to be made by ministers, much of the detail has not yet been agreed by the Government.
The Welsh lockdown will not be covered by a UK government scheme which kicks in on November 1 and will cover 67% of the wages of workers at firms forced to close.
Many retailers will be forced to shut during the 'firebreak' lockdown, when it begins on Friday at 6pm, but food shops, off-licences and pharmacies can stay open,
First Minister Mark Drakeford said it will be 'made clear' to supermarkets that only certain parts of their business will be allowed to open in order to sell essentials.
Welsh businesses have been given mere hours to put together plans for the lockdown, which will run until November 9.
The move has sparked anger among opposition figures, however, with Welsh Conservative Andrew RT Davies tweeting: 'The power is going to their heads'.
Mr Drakeford told a Senedd committee on Friday that 'in the last lockdown, people were reasonably understanding of the fact that supermarkets didn't close all the things that they may have needed to'.
Covid-19 deaths in Britain could have been HALVED by an early lockdown
Professor Andrew Harvey, an emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge, calculated the death toll could have been halved if Britain went into lockdown on March 19, rather than March 26.The UK went into full lockdown on March 23, when 36 people were dying of Covid-19 per day on average.
'I don't think people will be as understanding this time.
'We will make sure there is a more level playing field in those next two weeks.'
The First Minister said he would keep the principality closed down for as short a time as possible, but insisted it was necessary to act as a breaker to a 'rising tide' of cases - despite Wales having a lower rate of infections than England.
The decision to impose a 'short and deep' lockdown until November 9, which echoes national demands made by Sir Keir Starmer and wipes out Halloween and Bonfire Night, sparked a furious political backlash.
Data showed England had a coronavirus infection rate of 166 per 100,000 people in the week of October 14 while Wales had a rate of 163 per 100,000.
Welsh Tories said it was dooming the country to an endless cycle of two-week lockdowns while Conservative MPs in Westminster said it was a 'blunt instrument' and 'closing down the whole of Wales is disproportionate to the level of risk in some parts of the country'.
At the start of the pandemic, hordes of shoppers descended on supermarkets at the crack of dawn in a desperate bid to stock up after weeks of panic-buying cleared food aisles across the country.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford snaps at criticism of 'firebreak'
Mark Drakeford could not hide his frustration as he was repeatedly questioned on the restrictions, which come into force from 6pm for 17 days. He insisted they were 'fair' and crucial to stop the spread of the virus. But when he was challenged over whether it was 'essential' for parents to buy new school trousers if their children ripped them, Mr Drakeford moaned: 'It is just the wrong way to approach this whole business.'We are back to the ''how do you we get round the rules'' approach to coronavirus.' He added tetchily: 'There is a bigger prize at stake here than whether you need to buy a candle or not.
Pleas from the government and retailers to consider other people and steer clear of panic-buying had been largely ignored, with those who did exercise restraint forced to flock to stores well ahead of opening times to make sure they didn't leave empty-handed.
Individual stores took action to curb the number of products people could buy, while police and private security were even drafted in to stamp out ransacking of high-demand items such as toilet roll.
Mr Drakeford said this week: 'It is a very difficult time indeed and it's why, in the end, we decided to go for the shortest possible period of a firebreak - a two-week period.
'But if you're doing it short, you've got to do it deep. There's a trade-off there.
'We could have gone for a longer period with slightly fewer restrictions but, in the end, the advice to us - partly because of the impact on people's mental health - was that if you could keep this period of time as short as you could, that would help to mitigate that impact.'
Meanwhile, it emerged today that more than 1,000 Cardiff University students and three staff have reported testing positive for coronavirus with the NHS since the start of October and more than 2,000 are currently self isolating.
University figures show 730 students and three staff have reported failing an NHS test and the university's own in-house asymptomatic test service has identified a further 292 cases among staff and students - bringing the total number of cases who have tested positive to 1,025.
The single daily total for positive tests was 164 on October 18 and 2,346 students were self isolating on that date. Of those self isolating, 235 reported doing so because they had symptoms.
Welsh ministers vow to continue trolley police restrictions .
Welsh ministers issued an update to the list of items that can be sold in shops and supermarkets that are allowed to remain open during the lockdown, which is due to end on November 9.The Welsh Government said on Tuesday it had 'positive discussions' with essential retailers, representative groups and trade unions over the rules.