South Wales lockdown enforced  following a 'sharp increase' in Covid-19 cases

A local lockdown will be enforced in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area of south Wales following a "sharp increase" in Covid-19 cases

South Wales lockdown linked to Doncaster Races 
South Wales lockdown  Credit: Getty Images Europe 

A local lockdown will be enforced in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area of south Wales following a "sharp increase" in Covid-19 cases, the Welsh Government has said.

One of the clusters of cases in Rhondda Cynon Taf was previously linked to a club outing to Doncaster Races but the Welsh Government last night said that the group had not in fact made it to the races.

Another cluster is associated with a rugby club and pub in the lower Rhondda.

More than 2,500 spectators were allowed into the first day of the Doncaster meeting last week.

Doncaster Racecourse said it did not have any ticket bookings from the south Wales area for Wednesday’s event and had not been contacted by the NHS or the Welsh government for the purposes of track and trace.

The British Horseracing Authority said last night that Public Health Wales (PHW) told them that a coach party from South Wales – now part of a Covid lockdown area in the Rhondda Cynon Taff – did not visit Doncaster Racecourse as reported.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: "The BHA had been seeking further information about the case on behalf of Doncaster Racecourse, which had not been contacted by public health officials as part of a Test & Trace process and had no knowledge of the supposed visit.

PHW confirmed that no contact had been made with Doncaster Racecourse because the group had not attended the pilot event last Wednesday 9th September, the first day of the St Leger Festival.

"PHW expect a formal clarification will be provided by the Welsh government as soon as possible. The BHA has passed on the information to ARC, which runs Doncaster Racecourse.”    

Health minister Vaughan Gething announced the new restrictions at a Welsh Government press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

"We have seen a rapid rise in cases in Rhondda Cynon Taf in a very short space of time, linked to people socialising indoors and not following social distancing guidelines," Mr Gething said.

"We now have evidence of wider community transmission in the borough, which means we need to take urgent action to control and, ultimately, reduce the spread of the virus and protect people's health."

Under the new restrictions, which come into force at 6pm on Thursday, people must not enter or leave the area without a reasonable excuse.

Meetings with other people indoors will not be allowed, including for extended households.

All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm.

Figures show the rolling seven-day new case rate is 82.1 per 100,000 people in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

On Tuesday, the testing positivity rate was 4.3 per cent - the highest in Wales.