The health minister has refused to rule out introducing tougher restrictions before Christmas in the wake of rising coronavirus cases across Wales.
Vaughan Gething said in his press conference on Monday afternoon that “every option was still available” to the Welsh Government and that discussions had taken place with partners to set out the best course of action.
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus passed the 100,000 mark over the weekend in Wales, and there are now more than 2,000 people with confirmed or suspected cases of the virus in our hospitals.
When asked about whether there was still a chance restrictions could be tightened further before Christmas, Mr Gething said: “Every option is still available to us. I have had a meeting with local stakeholders across Wales about a range of challenges in different regions. Ministers in Cabinet will also meet today in our new virtual form.
“So we’ll continue to have those discussions and gain evidence from the chief medical officer, from our scientific advisers, but also crucially from the chief executive of NHS Wales about the reality of service pressures.
“We will then have to make balanced choices in terms of the real-world impact in terms of both lives and livelihoods. These are not straightforward choices.”
Mr Gething said there was a “lot of capital invested” in the UK-wide easing of the rules between December 23 and 27 where three households can form an extended bubble.
But he stressed the breaks could still be put on those plans in Wales should it help save lives.
“It’s certainly not our preference to interrupt because there is a lot of capital invested in that easing of the rules which all four countries signed up to,” he said.
“But as I’ve said, you can never say never with the course of the pandemic because if the virus continues to grow then we will need to make choices to keep people safe.
“So nothing is off the table, but it does rely on the choices that each of us are prepared to make.”
On Monday, Public Health Wales announced a further 33 people have died with coronavirus in Wales, taking the total to 2,882.
There were eight deaths in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, seven in Betsi Cadwaladr, four in Cardiff and Vale, five in Cwm Taf Morgannwg, four in Hywel Dda and five in Swansea Bay.
The number of positive Covid tests has now reached 101,953 in total, with 1,228 new positive cases.
All outdoor visitor attractions in Wales – including the grounds of museums, galleries and heritage sites – were told to close from Monday to reduce Covid-19 infection rates further.
The Welsh Government has also updated its coronavirus control plan, changing its traffic-light framework of restrictions to one of four alert levels.
Wales is now at alert level 3 (high risk), the strictest level of restrictions short of a full lockdown.