Europe

Wales sets Covid case record on Christmas Eve as nation grappling with Omicron variant

Wales: Covid-19 restrictions a 'hammerblow' says pub owner

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The country has reported more coronavirus cases in a single day — 6,755 — than ever before since the pandemic began. The number of infections represents a jump of more than 2,000 in 48 hours.

The total number of COVID-19 cases Wales has recorded now stands at 577,043.

Of the new cases, 1,630 were recorded in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area; 1,130 in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, and 952 in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

Swansea Bay University Health Board and Powys Teaching Health Board also recorded significant numbers.

According to Public Health Wales (PHW), an additional 10 deaths have brought the national toll to 6,545.

See the latest Covid vaccine stats below and visit InYourArea for all the Covid vaccine latest

The latest seven-day infection rate across Wales, based on the seven days up to December 19, has risen again to 662.3 cases per 100,000 population. On Thursday, it stood at 633 per 100,000 population while just five days ago the figure was at 501.3.

Up to Wednesday, 1,177 cases of the Omicron variant were reported. However, unlike in England and Scotland, Delta remains the dominant strain there.

The record-breaking figure follows the re-introduction of stricter rules announced by the Welsh Government on Thursday.

From Sunday, December 26, a maximum of six people will be allowed to meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants and two-metre social distancing rules will be back in public places.

The level-two restrictions also mean hospitality venues will be returning to table service only and contact tracing details will once again be collected from customers.

Meanwhile, large events will be limited, with exceptions for smaller sports events where up to 50 spectators can gather as well as for events involving children.

Nightclubs, originally planned to close on December 27, will now shut on Boxing Day instead.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals are among the events not subjected to the same limits.

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It is also the return of the mask.

In a surprising move given the concerning rise in infections, the Welsh government has on Friday confirmed it was pausing its vaccination appointments over the weekend in light of the Christmas celebrations.

The service will resume on Monday.

In England, the roll-out will continue over Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The latest figures show 2,486,737 people in Wales have received one shot of the Covid vaccine and 2,296,242 have received both.

Meanwhile, 1,490,668 residents have taken their booster jabs.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today, in front of a Christmas tree in Downing Street, invoked the teaching of Jesus Christ to urge the British public to get their boosters.

In a filmed video statement Mr Johnson celebrated members of the public who were “getting jabbed not just for themselves, for ourselves, but for friends and family and everyone we meet”.

He added: “That, after all, is the teaching of Jesus Christ, whose birth is at the heart of this enormous festival – that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves.”

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