Wales is set to enter a second lockdown on Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.

The "circuit breaker" lockdown, details of which were leaked over the weekend, is expected to last for 17 days.

When asked whether it would be extended, Mr Drakeford "categorically ruled out" the lockdown going past two weeks.

When asked about why rural areas like Powys are being put into lockdown, he said it's because gaps where local lockdowns are not needed yet, numbers are significantly up in many of those areas, and every single part of Wales needs to make its contribution.

People will be asked to stay home, and non-essential shops and businesses will close. A £300m support fund will be put in place to help businesses through the lockdown.

Primary schools are understood to be remaining open, once the two-week half-term which began today is over.

Mr Drakeford said: "It is with a heavy heart that I once again ask everyone to stay at home and businesses to shut.

“We are all tired of coronavirus and the many rules and regulations we all have to live with. We all want to see an end to this pandemic and our lives returned to us. Unfortunately, we do not yet have a vaccine, which will allow us to do that.

“This fire-break is our best chance of regaining control of the virus and avoiding a much-longer – and damaging – national lockdown. We have a small window of opportunity to act.

“To be successful, we need everyone’s help. Wales has shown throughout this pandemic that we can come together and take the actions to keep our families and our communities safe.

“We must come together once again to stay ahead of this virus and to save lives.”

He added: "If we have to rely on police and agencies to make success, we won’t succeed.

"We’ll succeed by people asking themselves not asking what can I do to get around the rules but what can I do to make this period work for Wales."

County Times:

Here is what we know so far: 

  • The firebreak will begin at 6pm on Friday
  • The plan is "the shortest we can make it" Mr Drakeford said
  • Everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home, and work from home where possible. Critical workers and those for whom working from home is not possible are thee only exceptions
  • Gatherings both indoors and outdoors with people with whom you do not live will be banned
  • It is the "best chance" of getting hold of the virus, he said.
  • The two week period will be used to allow people to catch up on contact & trace. NHS to fast-track field hospitals. £500 for people on low incomes to self-isolate.
  • The law will not allow gatherings for Halloween or Bonfire night and Mr Drakeford said it will be 'self-policing'
  • But an exception will be made for Remembrance Sunday organised events - this is "more appropriate than ever" at a time of national crisis.

"Every contribution however small will make the difference," he said.

More to follow.