A further 14 people have died with coronavirus bringing the death toll in Wales to 997 on Monday.
Public Health Wales have reported that the total number of cases now stands at 10,524 after a further 195 cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours.
Earlier on Monday afternoon, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford gave figures showing Wales is past the peak of coronavirus cases during the the daily Welsh briefing.
Mr Drakeford said that the number of people in hospital with coronavirus was down to nearly 1,000 from more than 1,300 on April 23. He also cited a fall in the number of people in intensive care with coronavirus and in the number of daily cases reported.
He also addressed concerns about school reopening next month, saying that no date had yet been set and that it would only be done when it is safe.
He said schools would be opened “in a careful and measured way with new safeguards built into the system”.
He told parents: “We will not be asking you to send your child to school until we can say to you that we have thought about those things and put those measures in place.”
And he suggested parents would not be punished – usually by fines – for refusing to send their children back to school when they are reopened.
He said: “We will need to move by persuasion that we can persuade people we have done the right things and their child will be safe.”
Monday’s figures are slightly higher than those reported on Sunday, when Public Health Wales confirmed 174 people had been diagnosed with coronavirus in Wales.
After Saturday’s total reported deaths of 44 – one of the largest recorded daily rises in the number of deaths – Wales has now had two consecutive days where the number of confirmed deaths has been 14.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday, Mark Drakeford revealed plans for a “phased” return for children across Wales.
It comes as a Welsh consultant has warned that the coronavirus crisis is “far from over” and the most dangerous peak could come in October.
Dr David Hepburn, who works at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, became well-known when he spoke publicly after contracting coronavirus himself.
Has lockdown made you scream for ice cream?
Well, for anyone living in Swansea, you’re in luck.
Joe’s Ice Cream, Mumbles
There are very few things that are more synonymous with Swansea than the taste of Joe’s Ice Cream. But with the famous ice cream parlours closed for the foreseeable, getting your hands on their ice cream has been nigh on impossible.
The parlour has just made an announcement which will bring a smile to many faces. It has officially launched a home delivery service, taking its pre-packed ice cream across the city.
Find out how to get hold of their tubs and ice cream cakes here.
Swansea Council is giving city centre workers who own annual parking permits three extra months free.
The decision has been made to take into account restrictions on movement brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Read more here.
A Barry cemetery is re-opening after pleas from families desperate to pay their respects to their loved ones.
A spokesman for Barry Town Council said:
Due to a change in the Public Health Wales Regulations, and following high public interest, Barry Town Council has listened to the public and will trial a temporary and re-opening of Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery on a reduced service from Monday 4th May 2020 at 3pm.
This Cemetery will be open to the public from this date on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3pm – 6pm only on a trial basis; this will be reviewed regularly. At these times, there will be no Cemetery staff on site to ensure as much protection as possible for our key workers during this difficult time. Please note the Cemetery will remain closed to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Following an assessment of risk, some facilities have been withdrawn to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus; this means that you will not be able to sit on the benches, use the taps for water or put any rubbish in the bins.
Please ensure you bring your own water with you for flower vases and take all rubbish home with you; please do not leave any rubbish in the Cemetery. The public toilets will also remain closed.
NHS England has released figures which break down the ages of those who have died with coronavirus in English hospitals.
Of the 21,384 confirmed reported deaths so far:
- 11,205 (52%) have been people aged 80 and over
- 8,310 (39%) were 60-79
- 1,706 (8%) were aged 40-59
- 152 (1%) were aged 20-39
- 11 (0.05%) were aged 0-19
A collection service for bulky waste items, including household furniture and white goods, is to resume in Caerphilly county borough next Monday, May 11.
Collections can be booked from today for the service, which had been suspended by the council in response to the coronavirus social distancing rules.
Councillor Nigel George, cabinet member for environment and neighbourhood services, said:
The council is continually monitoring and reviewing our practices in line with official guidance and resuming services as soon as it is assessed as safe to do so.
Residents are asked not to book a collection if a member of their household has displayed or is displaying symptoms of coronavirus.
Julie Morgan AM, deputy minister for Health and Social Services, has promised to support carers during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a written statement, Ms Morgan acknowledged how the “legion of unpaid carers” has so far helped key services in Wales to cope with the increased pressure caused by coronavirus.
We are committed to supporting carers. Our landmark Social Services and Well-being Act gave carers equal rights to care and support as the people they care for.
I know the emergency Coronavirus Act has caused some anxiety that carers’ legal rights may be compromised and that arrangements to support them and those they care for may be withdrawn.
This emergency legislation is not intended to weaken the rights of carers in Wales. I expect local authorities to maintain the rights provided under the 2014 Act. I know local authorities will do everything they can to maintain care and support during the pandemic
Local authorities and care providers are under pressure – they are facing the dual challenge of workforce shortages due to sickness and new working patterns as a result of the restrictions. Some decisions may be needed about prioritising care and or support but these will be based on the overarching principles and core values for social care of voice, control and co-production.
If any changes are made they must only be temporary, justifiable due to unavoidable local circumstances and they will be removed at the first available opportunity. If there are any changes to an individual’s care or support, it must return to their pre-modification arrangements at the earliest possible opportunity. We will keep any changes under review.
Ms Morgan added that she was working to support young carers as well as convening a task and finish group with carers’ representatives to consider emerging evidence and guidance about coronavirus.
Here are the key points from today’s Welsh Government coronavirus briefing with First Minister Mark Drakeford:
- Number of new cases in Wales now consistently less than 200 each day
- Fewer than 100 people remain in critical care beds in Wales, down from over 160 in mid-April
- Formal review of lockdown restrictions to take place at end of week
- Tracking app could be rolled out in Wales once personal data issues are worked through
- Advice on face masks to be formalised for Wales
- Children will not return to school before June and immediate return not likely to be ‘compulsory’
Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today that five more people had died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus.
A total of 1,576 patients have now died in Scotland.
According to the First Minister for Scotland, there are 99 people in intensive care with coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms which has not changed since Sunday.
NHS England has announced 204 new deaths of people who tested positive for coronavirus.
The total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England now stands at 21,384.
Of the 204 new deaths announced on Monday, 54 occurred on May 3, 108 occurred on May 2 and 24 occurred on May 1.
Across Wales, hundreds of armed forces personnel and defence organisations have helped out by distributing PPE distribution, manning mobile testing units and filled in with ambulance driving and decontamination.
In addition to the ongoing support of soldiers to the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) members of the military are advising and assisting NHS Wales to distribute essential PPE to their frontline staff.
Wales’ battle against coronavirus will also be boosted by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) trials of innovative ambulance decontamination technology that could dramatically reduce the time it takes to clean the WAST’s vehicles, enabling more to be on the road saving lives.
Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said:
Our Armed Forces never retreat from a challenge. In Wales they are stepping forward to support everything from PPE distribution to ambulance decontamination, boosting the vital work of the emergency services and NHS in combating Covid-19.
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:
The UK’s Armed Forces are providing crucial support to our NHS, Welsh Ambulance Service and social care workers, helping critical care to continue across Wales.
Their continued efforts, alongside that of our extraordinary key workers, is testament to their selfless commitment to our country. I would like to extend my thanks to the Armed Forces personnel, and those they are working alongside, who are doing incredible work to keep our country going during these difficult times.
The latest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales have been announced.
A further 14 people have died with coronavirus, bringing the death toll in Wales to 997.
On Monday, the total number of confirmed cases now stands at 10,524 after a further 195 cases were reported in the past 24 hours.
(Image: Media Wales John Myers)
In Pembrokeshire, the annual summer beach ban on dogs has come into force but will not be actively enforced during lockdown.
By-laws restrict dog walkers taking their pets to parts of eight of the county’s beaches from 1 May to 30 September, with a total ban at Tenby North and Whitesands.
With only essential travel permitted during the lockdown, only dog owners who live within walking distance will be able to visit the beach areas without restrictions.
The prime minister’s spokesman has confirmed this afternoon that the NHS Nightingale hospital in London would be put “on standby”.
The 4,000-bed emergency hospital, which was set up within days in the ExCel centre, is not expected to admit any new patients in the coming days.
The facility will now be put on standby, ready to receive patients if needed, the spokesman said. He would not be drawn on whether the other Nightingale hospitals outside of London would be put on hold too.
Asked if opening them has been a mistake, he said:
We view the fact that the Nightingales have not has to be used in a significant way as something that is positive.
That’s all for today from First Minister Mark Drakeford.
Key points from today’s Welsh Government press conference to follow.
Mr Drakeford said advice on wearing masks will be formalised, but he wanted to be “very clear” that we are not discussing the use of hospital masks by the public.
“We will not go down the line of a course of action where members of the public end up competing with the health service for masks,” he said.
The Welsh Government is discussing the public use of non clinical face coverings, he said.
Asked about whether it is true that agency staff has been brought in to tackle the virus in Wales, Mr Drakeford said it has been.
He said the Welsh Government has always made use of agency staff in the NHS in Wales, and that they are an important part of how the health service copes with unexpected demand or absence or planned absence.
However, he said the primary new sources of assistance that we have mobilised in Wales has been from the response of retired professionals and medical students completing their training.
The bulk of the extra help Wales has secured has been through those new sources, while agency staff continued to play the valuable part they always have in the health service, he said.
Asked how other NHS services will resume when some coronavirus patients need ongoing care, Mr Drakeford said this is the reason we have invested “so much and so rapidly” in the time of the disease in remote consultations.
He said GPS can now see patients by video link, instead of face to face, so monitoring can take place and advice can be given.
This has bee extended this to outpatient appointments as well.
He said the NHS is learning a lot during coronavirus and some of it is positive that we can take into the future
Asked how he can reassure parents that it’s safe for kids to return to school when the time comes, Mr Drakeford said: “We will not be reopening schools until we are satisfied that we are able to do so in a way that protects your child’s health and well being.”
There will be no rush to reopen schools in Wales as they were just before and after Christmas, he said.
Schools will reopen in a careful and measured way, he said, with new safeguards built into the system.
Mr Drakeford added that he’s not ”attracted to the idea of compulsion”, and he would rather persuade parents and pupils that it is safe to return when the time is right.
Speaking about workplace regulations documents circulating in the UK, Mr Drakeford said more specific advice is needed for Wales.
He said the general advice will need to be translated to give to more specific action in our workplaces.
What you need to do to make one place safe will not be what is needed in a different setting, he said.
He said social distancing will continue to be a part of these measures, but workplaces will also need to consider new things, such as how people gather together in places like canteens and also what hours staff will work to ensure there are fewer people working at any one time.
Each employer will probably be required to publish a risk assessment to show how general requirements have been applied specifically, he added.
Mr Drakeford said he believes, conditionally, that people will want to use the app if it becomes available.
He said people in Wales have always demonstrated a “willingness to act collectively”, and that’s what the app is designed to do.
He said he believes there will be a predisposition by people to want to take part, but the government needs to take steps to make people feel more comfortable.
People will need to understand how their voluntary data will be used and what safeguards are in place, he added.
Asked to comment on the confusion about when schools may reopen, he said: “It takes three weeks from the moment you make a decision to reopen schools for schools to be reopened.“
“If we did decided today the earliest time would have been June,” he said.
He added that his earlier statements were merely “reflecting the advice we’ve had about the length of time it takes to implement a decision”.
Whatever time we decide, it will take three weeks, he said.
Mr Drakeford said, at the moment, we are working with the UK Government on the app to see if we could make use of it in Wales.
He said there are still issues to be worked through and that’s why the Isle of Wight is being used as an experiment.
The issues surround personal data and how that can be shared into the different health systems in the UK, he said.
If we can solve those issues, and people will feel secure, there will be advantages to using it, Mr Drakeford said.
“But we’re not quite there yet.”
Asked how we will begin to move out of lockdown with our testing capacity at around 2,000 per day, Mr Drakeford said the number will need to increase.
“We will certainly need greater testing capacity when we get to the test, trace, isolate part of lifting restrictions,” he said.
A first draft of a plan from Public Health Wales to begin to do that has been drawn up, he said.
He said it’s been being discussed since the second half of last week and he was in a meeting on that plan this morning with health minister Vaughan Gething.
Speaking about the 75th VE day, which takes place this week, Mr Drakeford said the public still has an opportunity to pay tribute despite the ongoing restrictions.
“Our original plans for the day have changed of course, but this will still be an opportunity to come together to pay tribute to the generation that gave their lives in many cases to shape our society,” he said.
Mr Drakeford reiterated that his preference as lockdown begins to be eased is a four-nations approach.
“We entered lockdown on the same day and on the same basic terms,” he said. “I believe that it would be best if we could begin to lift lockdown under a set of common measures implemented to a common timetable which we then put to work for Wales.”
He said whatever actions we agree, it’s essential that we take people with us and consider public readiness for the change.
He said opinion polls over the weekend suggest that the majority of people support many ongoing restrictions.
Any activities or any places which begin to reopen will need new rules or protocols in place to make sure they’re safe, he said.
Here in Wales we know that the virus is having a disproportionate effect in people living in less well off communities, Mr Drakeford said.
The framework document has factored in equality to guide us in lifting lockdown restrictions, he said.
The First Minister said, over this week, the practical consideration of the current restrictions will be our primary focus.
The legislation requires us to have a formal review every 21 days and that is what will happen at the end of this week, he said.
Mr Drakeford said the number of confirmed cases in Wales are now consistently less than 200 each day.
The number of people in hospital has fallen from more than 1,300 on April 23 to just over 1,000 yesterday
Fewer than 100 people are in critical care beds in Wales, down from more than 160 in mid April.
And about a quarter of people in critical care are being treated for the virus, down from a peak of more than 40 percent, he said.
“All of this shows that everything we are doing as a community has helped us to move past the peak of the virus,” he said.
The level of compliance has had the desired effect, he said.
Nevertheless, he said, the Public Health Wales daily figures or deaths from coronavirus in Wales are approaching 1,000 and the Office for National Statistics figures have already exceeded “this sombre milestone”.
Mr Drakeford has said he wants to “shed light on the progress being made” across the UK and Wales.
“I want to begin today by reflecting on the discussion that has taken place in recent days about whether we have reached the peak of the spread of coronavirus,” he said.
“I want to share some facts with people in Wales that will help shed light on the progress we have made.”
He said all of the measures being taken are reducing the speed and spread of virus.
Additionally, the numbers are decreasing and our reproduction rate – the rate at which coronavirus is spreading – has come down, he said.
Mr Drakeford will provide an update on the outbreak in Wales beginning at 12.30pm.
Follow along here for live updates.