December 4, 2020

Vaughan Gething warns Wales faces a large peak of deaths this winter – WalesOnline

Wales’ health minister has warned that Wales is on course to see a large peak of deaths involving coronavirus this winter.

Vaughan Gething was speaking at the Welsh Government press conference on coronavirus on Monday, November 16.

He said that “there was a large peak in the first wave and it would appear we are now heading towards another, large peak this winter”.

“This underlines why we introduced the firebreak,” he said.

“In the first two weeks of November, Public Health Wales has recorded more than 250 deaths from coronavirus.

“This is a very sobering number. But of course, these are not just numbers – these are people who leave behind lives and loved ones. There will be more than 250 families across Wales who are mourning their loss.

“I hope these figures help explain why we are taking coronavirus so seriously and why we – like governments around the world – are taking action to protect people’s health.”

He also spoke about the Welsh Government’s thinking around Christmas, warning that “whatever happens with Christmas this year won’t be like normal.

He said officials were still looking at the evidence to see what we can do around contact with family members during Christmas but warned that what was possible depended on the pattern of the virus in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is self isolating after coming into contact with an MP who has since tested positive for coronavirus.

He posted a video on social media on Monday morning saying: “Hi folks, I’ve been instructed by our NHS Test & Trace scheme to self-isolate for two weeks, after being in contact with someone with Covid-19.

“I’m in good health and have no symptoms, and will continue to lead on our response to the virus & our plans to #BuildBackBetter.”

The UK’s daily coronavirus testing capacity is set to more than double with the opening of two new “megalabs” in early 2021, the Government has announced.

The two laboratories, one in Leamington Spa and another in Scotland, will together be able to process up to 600,000 samples a day when operating at full capacity, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The UK will be the first country to run final-stage trials of a coronavirus vaccine being developed by a company owned by Johnson and Johnson, it has been announced.

The phase-three trial of the vaccine from pharmaceutical company Janssen starts on Monday and will be the first of its two-dose study.

The jab has already undergone phase one and two trials, and interim analysis of the single-dose study suggests the Covid-19 vaccine candidate induces a robust immune response and is generally well-tolerated.

For the two-dose study, researchers are aiming to recruit around 6,000 UK participants – from a total of 30,000 people globally – at 17 sites across the country, including one in Cardiff.

We will bring you all the latest updates here through the day.