WALES is at the beginning of a third wave in the coronavirus pandemic.

And modelling suggests the third wave of the virus in the country could see a higher peak than the one in January.

Dr Chris Jones, deputy chief medical officer for Wales, was speaking at today's Welsh Government coroanvirus briefing.

He explained: "It is clear, looking at the acceleration in case rates, that we are in the throws of a third peak.

"We are in the pre peak phase of the third wave.

"The modelling going forward is more difficult.

"There are uncertainties about how much more transmissible the Delta Variant of the virus is, and also of the effectiveness of vaccines against it, though we are becoming more assured about that.

"The worst scenario suggests we could see a very significant third peak, possibly higher than we saw in January."

The rise, Dr Jones explained, was being caused by the Delta variant.

The first cases in Wales were linked to a cluster in Cardiff, before links emerged to Newport and Swansea.

A third cluster was then found in Conwy.

Since the end of May, more cases of the Delta variant have been found across Wales.

Dr Jones said: "The latest information shows there are 579 confirmed cases in Wales. It is moving quickly. There is evidence of spread in the community.

"The increase in the Delta variant is driving the increase in coronavirus rates.

"Four out of five new cases are caused by the Delta variant.

"Based on the experience seen in Scotland, the risk of being admitted to hospital because of the Delta variant, if you are not vaccinated, appears to be at least double.

"Vaccination appears to offer strong protection against disease, and there is good emerging evidence that two doses reduces the risk of hospitalisation."