Officials in Wales announced Monday they will impose a two-week "firebreak" lockdown effective Friday, requiring all but essential workers to stay at home to combat an accelerating second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the move at a news conference, saying the lockdown will be in effect from Friday to November 9. During that time, everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home, except for the most critical workers. He said that that means people will be working from home wherever possible.
Referring to the lockdown as a “firebreak,” Drakeford said it “is the shortest we can make it but that means that it will have to be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have on the virus."
Drakeford said that while he understood that people were tired of COVID-19 restrictions, the imposition of rules was essential as critical care units were already full.
All non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality and tourist businesses will have to close in Wales. Places of worship will also close for regular service.
Last week, Britain’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE)recommended a similar break for all of Britain, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected it in favor of his regional three-tiered “alert” system approach.
Britain recorded 16,982 new daily cases of COVID-19 in the space of 24 hours, according to government data issued on Sunday, up from 16,717 the previous day. Wales recorded 950 cases, up from just 400 per day at the start of the month.