Stricter measures may be imposed in Newport if coronavirus cases continue to increase (Image: Rob Browne)

Newport at risk of local lockdown after surge in coronavirus cases linked to pubs


Newport is at risk of being put into local lockdown due to some residents not social distancing and self-isolating when showing symptoms, Public Health Wales has warned.

Residents have been urged to be "vigilant" due to a rise in Covid-19 cases in the city over the past week.

Some feel a local lockdown is "imminent" due to a feeling that "everything has gone back to normal", WalesOnline reports.

Those who visited a number of bars and pubs in Newport were told to be particularly on the "lookout" for symptoms, as people had been at the premises during their infectious periods.

Public Health Wales reported "higher levels of transmission" of coronavirus in the Newport area, where there were 15 further cases on Sunday.
(Image: Rob Browne)

An investigation into the increase has been launched by Public Health Wales, Newport City Council and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

The number of cases in Newport over the past seven days has risen to 43.3 per 100,00 people - the fourth highest infection rate in Wales, behind Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

A local lockdown was enforced in Caerphilly county borough on Tuesday night, while measures were put in place in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf on Thursday.

Heather Lewis, consultant in public health at Public Health Wales, said: "We are grateful to the vast majority of residents in Newport for sticking to social distancing guidelines, and for co-operating with investigations into the spread of coronavirus in the area.

"They have played an important part in protecting older and vulnerable people from coronavirus.

"Sadly, there is evidence that some people are ignoring social distancing guidelines, are failing to self-isolate when they have symptoms, and in a small number of cases are not being frank and honest with contact tracers about who they have met while infectious.

"Our message for the public is that coronavirus has not gone away, and it can be a very serious illness, especially for older and vulnerable people."

She urged people to observe social distancing guidelines, wash their hands regularly or use hand sanitiser and to book a test if they develop symptoms such as a cough, fever or change in taste or smell.

People were urged to "be on the lookout" for symptoms of Covid-19 if they had visited any of seven named pubs in Newport on specific days.

These were: Breeze on Cambrian Road on September 4 and 5, The Potters on Upper Dock Street on September 5, Break 'n' Dish on Stow Hill between September 1 and 8, Tiny Rebel on Wern Industrial Estate on September 6, 7 and 8, Ye Olde Bull Inn in Caerleon on September 4, The Handpost on Bassaleg Road on September 8 and Three Horseshoes on Pillmawr Road on September 6.

Back in April, Newport was statistically the worst affected area in the United Kingdom, with a higher number of cases per 100,000 people than any other area in the UK.

Cases were almost always in the double figures through March and April, with a high of 37 cases on March 25.

At the time, the Welsh Government put this partly down to a high level of testing in the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area.
Newport has the fourth highest infection rate in Wales (Image: Rob Browne)

But cases have started to spike again in the past week, and this weekend's figures are clearly worrying.

Stuart James and his partner Carmen Ferreira agree that another lockdown is likely, due to people not complying with the regulations.

“I think it’s imminent, it has gone way downhill,” Carmen said.

James added: “I have been to England recently and I’ve been barked at for not wearing a mask or for standing in the wrong queue.

“That isn’t happening at all here, it’s much more lenient.”

“I am a carer and he works from home, so it wouldn’t affect us too much,” said Carmen.

“I think we probably will go out less though. We went to Cardiff yesterday and it was packed, and nobody was social distancing."

Marc Fishwick travels to Bristol from Newport for work, and says he feels a local lockdown would be the right thing to do.

“I would support a local lockdown, absolutely," he said.

“A lot of people think everything has gone back to normal. Beforehand and during lockdown you had all the shops doing two metre distancing, people being careful.

“Now some key shops are still adhering, and some smaller ones too, but a lot aren't.

“I’ve been to Germany three weeks ago, and everywhere you went it was masks on and that was it.

“Yes, their cases are climbing, but everyone is doing all they can to protect each other, and that's how it should be."

From Monday, people across Wales must wear face coverings in shops and indoor public spaces.

Indoor meetings of more than six people from an extended household will also become illegal.

Those who break the law face fines of up to £1,920 for repeat offences.

Across Wales, there were 162 cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in country to 19,390.

Of these new cases, 47 were in Rhondda Cynon Taf, 31 were in Caerphilly, 15 were in Newport and 14 were in Cardiff. There were four in Merthyr Tydfil.

No further deaths were reported, with the total number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic remaining at 1,597.