Coronavirus cases are soaring in Wales and the chief medical officer is concerned that there is little time to get them down before Christmas.
Dr Frank Atherton told the latest Welsh Government briefing that the Welsh Government’s cabinet would be meeting this week to look at what he described as “other options” to try and get the virus under control.
He also raised concerns about Christmas fairs and attractions that were still running in some of the country’s big towns and cities.
The overall rate for Wales rose again on Wednesday with now almost 350 cases per 100,000, up from 326.8 on Tuesday. You can see the infection rates in your area here.
It was also revealed that there are now 10 areas in Wales which have rates of coronavirus higher than 400 cases per 100,000 people.
Dr Atherton admitted he was “really worried” about the rising number of cases over the past week.
“We need to get into Christmas with as low a rate of transmission as possible,” he said. “That really isn’t where we are at the moment.
“We have to ask what more can be done in the short time that we have available to us before Christmas.”
He said that everybody had to take personal responsibility but he added that ministers are “considering other options”.
“Ministers look at it continually,” said Dr Atherton. “The cabinet is meeting this week and they will be looking at other possibilities around schools. Local authorities have a role to play in the environment that they provide.
“I am worried, I will be honest, that we still have Christmas fairs and we still have Christmas attractions running in some of our major cities. I think we should be questioning some of that.
“We have to, somehow, reduce human to human contact if we are going to get the numbers down before Christmas.”
Last month ice walks that were due to be part of the Christmas attractions in Cardiff and Swansea announced they would not be opening.
Cardiff and Swansea councils issued a joint statement saying the decision had been made following public health advice. But some fairs and attractions are still going ahead in parts of Wales.
Dr Atherton’s advice came as other health experts in Wales “strongly advised” people in Wales to put off getting together at Christmas as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Advice from the Welsh Government’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) says it would be better for people to postpone celebrating Christmas together and to put if off to a later date.
It has also been widely reported that more restrictions are likely to have to be put in place after the Christmas relaxation of rules between December 23 and 27.
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Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething admitted on Wednesday that “difficult decisions” had to be made about whether more restrictions needed to be introduced after the Christmas break.
He told BBC Radio Wales: “We took action at the end of last week and we regularly have to think about what we have to do both in the pre-Christmas period and post.
“There are very difficult choices facing ministers over the coming days.” He said ministers “will have to make a range of choices about a range of different things, but fundamentally, any choice the government makes can only be really effective if we all make different choices about how we live our lives”.