Coronavirus: 'Wales to enter 17-day circuit break lockdown', leaked letter reveals

October 17, 2020

A "circuit break" lockdown for Wales will start at 6pm next Friday and last for 17 days, according to a leaked letter from the transport union CPT.

The Welsh government is not due to announce its decision on whether to impose a national lockdown until Monday, but details have been outlined in a letter to transport operators from John Pockett, director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport Cymru.

It says the circuit breaker will start at 6pm on Friday 23 October and last until 0.01am on Monday 9 November.

The letter, first published by political blogger Bubble Wales and verified by Sky News, says the lockdown will "take us back to the situation in March".

It says: "Pubs, cafes, restaurants, hairdressers etc - will all be closed."

The letter adds that while government ministers have not yet determined the details on schools, plans suggest primary schools will reopen on November 2 - after the half-term break.

On Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said no final decision had been made about introducing a lockdown, which would deliver a "short, sharp shock".

Sky News understands a final decision will be made on Sunday, before an announcement at lunchtime on Monday.

In response to the leaked letter, a Welsh government spokesperson said: "The measures we have put in place at both a local and a national level, with help from the public, have kept the spread of the virus under check.

"However, there is a growing consensus that we now need to introduce a different set of measures and actions to respond to the virus as it is spreading across Wales more quickly through the autumn and winter.

"We are actively considering advice from SAGE and our TAC Group. A 'fire break' set of measures to control COVID-19, similar to that described in the SAGE papers, is under consideration in Wales.

"As the first minister set out in his press conference on Friday, we have discussed this advice with stakeholders and partners. But no decisions have been made."

Another 16,171 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the UK on Saturday, with 150 more deaths.

The total number of positive cases nationwide now stands at 705,428, according to government figures.

Another country mulling further lockdown measures is Ireland, with its cabinet set to discuss the pandemic on Monday after health chiefs recommended it move to Level 5 of its own restrictions framework.

Level 5 is the highest stage and would see people being asked to stay within 5km of their home, as well as bars and restaurants offering only takeaway service.

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