ALL of Wales will be placed under lockdown from midnight with festive plans cancelled for all but Christmas Day.
First Minister Mark Drakeford made the announcement after urgent talks with ministers over a new strain of coronavirus, The Herald can confirm.
From December 23 to to December 28 rules had been due to be relaxed to allow people to celebrate the holidays with loved-ones.
But now this is limited to just Christmas Day.
Announcing the strict measures Mr Drakeford said: “While we all want to avoid further disruption to businesses and plans for Christmas, our overriding duty is to protect lives here in Wales, we know that 2021 will be a different and a better year. Our economy will recover. Christmas will come again.”
The changes mean that a Wales-wide lockdown, which was due to come into effect from 28 December, has been brought forward and will begin at midnight tonight.
All of Wales will be placed into the highest level of lockdown – Level 4 – with all but essential shops closed, and people being told to “stay home” to save lives.
Gyms, beauty salons, bars and pubs, and non-essential shops will have to close at the end of trading today, with people only being able to travel for “essential reasons”.
Commenting on the new restrictions announced tonight, Paul Davies MS, Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament, has said:
“Having been briefed by the First Minister today, I can fully appreciate the need for more severe restrictions in Wales, especially where infection rates are high, and the new strain of the virus is circulating.
“I know that many people will be disappointed as they were looking forward to seeing their loved ones this Christmas, but in the face of the emerging evidence it is clear that Christmas bubble arrangements must change.
“By working together and keeping to the rules we can ensure as many people as possible will be around to celebrate Christmas together in the years to come.”
<strong>First Minister statement – 19 December</strong>
Today, I met the First Ministers of Scotland and Northern Ireland, and Michael Gove, from the UK Government, to discuss the very latest information on a new strain of coronavirus.
We now know that this new strain is significantly more infectious and spreads more quickly than the original one.
Many of you will have heard the Prime Minister this afternoon setting out the pattern of transmission in London and the South East of England, which has been linked to this new variant of coronavirus.
This is remarkably consistent with the rapid acceleration of transmission in Wales and the high rates of cases we have seen in recent weeks.
The latest evidence suggests this new strain is present throughout Wales.
Throughout the public health emergency, we have had to respond quickly to the rapid changes, which have been so typical of coronavirus.
Today has been one of those days when new information has required an immediate response.
This afternoon, the Cabinet met to discuss this worrying new development in the pandemic and to hear the latest advice from our senior medical and scientific advisers, including the impact on our NHS.
The situation is incredibly serious. I cannot overstate this.
We have therefore reached the difficult decision to bring forward the alert level four restrictions for Wales, in line with the action being taken in London and the South East of England.
These new restrictions will come into effect from midnight tonight instead of during the Christmas period.
This will mean non-essential retail, close contact services, gyms and leisure centres and hospitality will close at the end of trading today.
Stay-at-home restrictions will also come into effect from midnight.
Unfortunately, we must also look again at the arrangements for Christmas – we cannot expose people to the risk of this new, more virulent strain of coronavirus.
We will therefore change the current rules, which allow two households to come together to form a Christmas bubble over a five-day period, so that they will apply on Christmas Day only.
Throughout the alert level four period, a single person household will be able to join with one other household.
While we all want to avoid further disruption to businesses and plans for Christmas, our overriding duty is to protect lives here in Wales.
We know that 2021 will be a different and a better year.
Our economy will recover.
Christmas will come again.
But lives which are lost, are lost for ever.
This new strain of the virus is another dreadful surprise in this long-running pandemic.
We now have a pandemic within a pandemic, a crisis within a crisis.
It is another challenge we must overcome. But one we will overcome together.
We will continue to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and, together, we will keep Wales safe.
Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi gyd.
Dynes mwyaf dylanwadol datganoli’n cael sgwrs dan y lloer
UN o ferched mwyaf dylanwadol yn hanes datganoli Cymru fydd gwestai Elin Fflur ym mhennod nesaf Sgwrs Dan y Lloer nos Lun 15 Mawrth.
Wrth i’r haul fachlud ar arfordir Ceredigion, Llywydd y Senedd, Elin Jones bydd yn croesawu Elin i’w gardd yn Aberaeron. O flaen tanllwyth o dân, cawn glywed am ei phlentyndod yn ardal Llanwnen, ger Llanbed, ei dyddiau yn cyd-ganu yn rhan o grŵp Cwlwm, a’r hyn sy’n tanio ei gwleidyddiaeth.
Bu’r tân yn ei bol am gyfiawnder yno ers yn ifanc, er nad oedd gwleidyddiaeth yn beth amlwg ar yr aelwyd adref:
“Ges i ddim fy magu ar aelwyd wleidyddol lle’r oedden ni’n trafod gwleidyddiaeth. Bydden i ddim yn gwybod sut o’dd fy rhieni i’n pleidleisio pan o’n i’n ifanc. Ond dwi’n gwybod am stori o’dd un o’n athrawon i’n dweud. Yn yr Ysgol Gynradd, fi o’dd yr un disgybl bach hynny oedd yn cwyno wrth yr athrawon bod nhw’n cael peaches and cream i bwdin amser cinio, a bod y plant yn cael semolina…a bod hynny ddim yn deg.
“Ac felly mae’r athrawes hynny wedi dweud wrtha i sawl tro ers hynny bod rhywbeth yndda i hyd yn oed bryd hynny oedd yn gweld annhegwch ac yn gwrthod cymryd hynny!”
A buan y tyfodd yr awydd i wneud gwahaniaeth. Daeth y blas cyntaf o wleidyddiaeth ynghlwm â phlaid ddigon annisgwyl:
“Un o’r etholiadau cynta’ nes i sefyll oedd yn Ysgol Uwchradd Llanbed yn 1982 – un o’r etholiadau ffug ‘na, a dwi’n cael lot o dynnu coes am hyn – ond fi oedd yr ymgeisydd Torïaidd. 15 oed o’n i; o’n i ddim wedi ffurfio ‘ngwleidyddiaeth yn llawn yn fy meddwl! Ac yn rhyfedd iawn nes i ennill yr etholiad ‘na. Ond dwi wastad yn dweud mai teamwork oedd e, achos Shân Cothi oedd fy asiant! Dyna’r tro diwetha’ i mi sefyll i’r Torïaid…nes i ddysgu o hynna ‘mlân.”
Bu Elin ar Gyngor Tref Aberystwyth o 1992 tan 1999, a hi oedd Maer ieuengaf y dref yn nhymor 1997-98. Ond daeth holl ffurfioldeb y rôl yn dipyn o sioc iddi:
“Do’n i ddim wedi dishgwyl yr holl rigmarôl o’dd yn dod gyda bod yn Faer. Ac wrth gwrs gwisgo’r tsiaen; mae tsiaen Maer wedi cael ei wneud ar gyfer ysgwyddau llydan dyn o’r ddeunawfed ganrif fwy neu lai, felly pan mae menyw ifanc, eiddil yn dod i geisio’i gwisgo, dyw e ddim yn ffito; mae’n slipo, ac felly dyw gwisgo’r tsiaen ddim yn un o’r pethau mwya’ cyfforddus yn gorfforol na sut o’dd o’n cael ei weld.
“Dwi’n meddwl bod angen i bobl – bobl ifanc a menywod yn enwedig i gymryd cyfrifoldebau gwahanol a rhoi eu henwau mlân, achos mae ‘na ormod o ddynion mewn gwleidyddiaeth wedi bod ar hyd y ganrif ddiwetha’.
“I fi, o’dd cerdded mewn i stafelloedd cyfarfodydd yn y 90au pu’n o’dd hwnna gyda ‘ngwaith i gyda’r Bwrdd Datblygu bryd hynny neu yn fy ngwleidyddiaeth i o fewn Plaid Cymru, yn y Cyngor Tref yn Aber, roedd yn ddynion mewn siwts llwyd i gyd, ac felly o’dd menyw’n cerdded mewn cot binc tamed bach yn wahanol, ac mae’n bwysig dod a ‘bach o liw i wleidyddiaeth.
“Pobl wahanol o gefndiroedd gwahanol, ac fe ddylai pob agwedd o fywyd fod yn hanner menywod, hanner dynion, achos dyna beth yw bywyd, ac felly mae’n bwysig fod menywod yn cymryd y cyfrifoldebau yna.”
Cyclist suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to hospital
THERE is a police appeal for witnesses to a Road Traffic Collision, which occurred at around 8.35pm on Sunday 10th January 2021 at Capel Hendre Square, Carmarthenshire.
The incident involved a Blue Audi car and a pedal cyclist. The 15-year-old male cyclist suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to hospital.
If anyone has any information on this incident or may have been travelling through Capel Hendre Square at the relevant time, please contact the Serious Collision Unit quoting Police reference DPP-20210110-227.
Police can be contacted either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing email@example.com, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.”
Wales Women building cohesion at start of big year
Cohesion was the focus for new Wales Women head coach Warren Abrahams during his first training camp of 2021.
Having been in post just over a month, Abrahams has spent time watching the Welsh performances in the Allianz Premier 15s and getting to know players and staff but the two-day camp was a welcome opportunity for quality face to face time with an enlarged training squad.
“We achieved our key aims on the weekend. The main thing was to learn more about the players. The more we understand them as individuals and as a team, that’s where we can make them better as players.
“The ultimate goal at the moment is to develop cohesion. We have to have the right people and make sure we work incredibly hard on those relationships between players and with management. Everything is tailored to making the team better and we also had some meaningful conversations around the legacy this team wants to leave for the next generation of Welsh women’s rugby and this team has to be the role model for that. That is a long-term goal.”
Abrahams is buoyed by what he’s seen so far. The vast majority of this training squad play in the Allianz Premiership and our players aren’t just making up the numbers. They’re putting down some big markers – just look at Kayleigh Powell and Hannah Jones who both earned a Player of the Match recently and Jaz Joyce who was Player of the Month for December. We’re really proud of how well our players are doing, it’s great for the programme and those experiences are just going to make them better.”
Siwan Lillicrap added, “It’s been nice to get together so soon in the New Year – the first step in a huge year ahead. The focus this weekend was on building a foundation and exploring what we’ve got as a squad.
“I think we absolutely achieved that, the relationships are developing along with a confidence in the squad . It’s been a tough, challenging camp but that’s what you want as we build towards the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup.”
Lillicrap welcomed the input of the new-look coaching team, former Wales captain and Colwyn Bay head coach Rachel Taylor coming in as national skills coach and former Ireland international and Penclawdd forwards coach Sophie Spence joining the set-up as Wales’ World Rugby coaching intern.
“Warren has been very inspirational for us already. It feels like he’s been in post much longer as we’ve done a lot of work on zoom already. It’s great to have Rachel on board. She’s a role model for many of us with what’s she’s done on the field as Wales captain and off it as a coach and Sophie too with her international experience and coaching knowledge.”
Forwards: Abbie Fleming, Alisha Butchers, Gwen Crabb, Georgia Evans, Cerys Hale, Cara Hope, Molly Kelly, Natalia John, Manon Johnes, Kelsey Jones, Beth Lewis, Siwan Lillicrap, Robyn Lock, Shona Powell-Hughes, Donna Rose, Caryl Thomas, Meg Webb, Teleri Wyn Davies
Backs: Alecs Donovan, Beth Huntley, Bryonie King, Courtney Keight, Jade Knight, Caitlin Lewis, Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Kayleigh Powell, Paige Randall, Jess Roberts, Gemma Rowland, Lauren Smyth, Elinor Snowsill, Robyn Wilkins, Flo Williams
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