On 18 August, the Welsh Government published the Coronavirus Control Plan, which set out our approach to controlling local outbreaks of coronavirus based on the principles of caution, proportionality and subsidiarity. Preventing the spread of coronavirus is our overriding priority, but any interventions we take must be proportionate, using local knowledge and expertise.
The virus has not gone away. Over the summer we have seen an increase in cases as people have returned from holidays abroad; as people have socialised at home and with friends but without following social distancing guidelines.
There has been a significant increase in cases in the Caerphilly Borough County Council area both in absolute terms and as a proportion of the number of people being tested.
In response, the local authority, Public Health Wales and the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board have put in place a number of measures. This has included additional testing capacity at Caerphilly Leisure Centre, additional protective measures at care homes and a public appeal through a broad range of channels to reiterate the behaviours we can all undertake to keep ourselves safe. Gwent Police has increased its enforcement activity in the area.
Today, following a request by public authorities in Caerphilly – and as per the process set out in the Coronavirus Control Plan – Ministers have decided to introduce a series of tighter measures to control the virus and protect public health:
- All residents in the local authority area over the age of 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor places, such as shops, where social distancing is difficult
- Meeting people indoors will not be allowed for the time being – this includes meeting members of an extended household, if one has been set up, and overnight stays. People will continue to be able to meet outdoors
- People will not be permitted to enter or leave the Caerphilly County Borough Council area without a reasonable excuse. A reasonable excuse includes travelling for work, if it is not possible to work from home
These new measures will come into force at 6pm on Tuesday. They will be kept under constant review to measure their impact on cases of coronavirus in the borough. Working with the local authority and Public Health Wales, we will introduce further restrictions if necessary to protect public health.
I understand the reintroduction of restrictions will be very disappointing and concerning news. I hope, with the support of the residents of Caerphilly borough, these actions will mean the rise in coronavirus cases will be brought under control quickly.
We can only bring coronavirus cases under control with the help and support of everyone living and working in Caerphilly County Borough Council area. Together, we can reduce the rates of transmission and protect the most vulnerable.
The Welsh Government will continue to closely monitor conditions across Wales. I hope that the local measures I have set out above will not be needed in other areas.