Wales’ Health Minister held the daily coronavirus update this afternoon, speaking to journalists and the public via live stream.
Vaughan Gething MS revealed that any lockdown-easing measures will be left to First Minister Mark Drakeford in tomorrow’s briefing.
Mr Drakeford has previously said that he would decide whether or not Wales would follow in England’s footsteps in reopening non-essential retail.
He also said that shops should have been preparing to introduce social distancing rules if they were to reopen.
The Health Minister also discussed coronavirus cases in Wales, as well as excess deaths for the last three months.
Here are the key things that you may have missed from today’s briefing.
The number of deaths have fallen every week for six weeks.
“There have been fewer than 100 confirmed cases in June in Wales,” Mr Gething said. “The number of deaths has also fallen every week for the last six weeks.
“We currently have 273 open critical care beds in Wales, including additional capacity.
“This means that 52% of our capacity is still free.
“And there are currently 32 people being treated in critical care for coronavirus, which means that hospitals are returning to normal operation.”
Wales has a lower number of excess deaths than England or Scotland
Excess deaths are calculated by looking at how many people, on average, died each year over the last five years.
The Health Minister explained this afternoon that Wales has a lower rate of excess deaths than England or Scotland.
“We have seen more than 2,100 excess deaths in the last three months as a result of the pandemic,” continued Mr Gething.
“The rate of excess deaths in Wales is lower than in England and Scotland.
“If we look at this in numbers – if Wales had the same number of excess deaths as England, we would have seen an extra 1,600 deaths in Wales.
“Or if England had the same rate as Wales, they would have seen 24k fewer deaths.
“Wales has an older population, and higher levels of deprivation. This is not what we would have expected.”
Staff at care homes will get antibody test
“All staff in care homes are being offered antibody tests for the next 4 weeks,” the Health Minister continued. “This will show whether someone has had the virus.
“We do not know what that means in terms of catching the virus again.
“But antibody tests will help to understand the prevalence of coronavirus in Wales.”
The First Minister will reveal if the lockdown will be eased tomorrow
Mr Gething also confirmed that the First MInister of Wales will reveal whether the lockdown will be eased in tomorrow’s daily briefing.
Mr Drakeford said last weekend that he would announce this week whether or not non-essential retail will be reopened.
“We’ve been considering the evidence of transmission and infection across Wales, and the headroom across Wales,” Mr Gething said.
“The First Minister will outline tomorrow on any easements, on the basis that social distancing has to be in place.
“If non essential retail opens, we don’t want to see crowds bunched in places, in breach of social distancing. It will put workers at risk.
“This comes with responsibility for all of us.
The Health Minister has no regrets after it was revealed that only 35 people had used field hospitals across the country
Mr Gething explained that while field hospitals across the country had remained mostly untouched, he felt that this was a positive story.
He also explained that it was untrue that only one of the 19 hospitals had been used, but did not explain how many had had patients.
“There will be a review taking place this month,” the Health Minister continued. “The review will be reported to you by the end of this month, and I will make a public statement then.
“We have spent £166 million on creating field hospitals, and if I had to do it over, I would do it again.
“I have a vivid memory of seeing a modern healthcare system in a developed european system being overrun in Italy.
“It’s a good news story that we haven’t needed to make use of the capacity of field hospitals.
“If we had done, it would have resulted in more harm and more deaths.”