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Coronavirus total in Wales hits 94 as 34 new cases reported

People in Wales should no longer contact NHS 111 if they believe they may have contracted Covid-19.

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Covid-19 swabs at the microbiology laboratory inside the Specialist Virology Centre at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff (Ben Birchall/PA)

Covid-19 swabs at the microbiology laboratory inside the Specialist Virology Centre at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff (Ben Birchall/PA)

Covid-19 swabs at the microbiology laboratory inside the Specialist Virology Centre at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff (Ben Birchall/PA)

Thirty-four more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Wales, taking the country’s number of confirmed cases to 94.

Public Health Wales said it was working with partners in the Welsh Government and the wider NHS in Wales now that the country had entered the “delay” phase.

The new cases, by local authority area, are: two in Blaenau Gwent, four in Caerphilly, three in Carmarthenshire, one in Ceredigion, four in Swansea, three in Cardiff, one in Monmouthshire, three in Newport, two in Rhondda Cynon Taf, two in Torfaen and one in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The residential areas of eight of the new confirmed cases were still being confirmed on Sunday.

Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, issued a video message describing how the Welsh Government had been “working hard to prepare for what is to come”.

“We are working around the clock with experts here in Wales and around the United Kingdom to do everything we possibly can to protect you and your families,” he said.

“Every decision we make is based on the best expert public health advice.

“It’s really important in facing the coronavirus that we take the right decisions at the right time.”

Dr Giri Shankar, incident director for the Covid-19 outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: “We can confirm that 34 new cases have tested positive for novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 94.

“Public Health Wales is working within the phased approach to tackling the novel coronavirus outlined in the UK Coronavirus Action Plan – to contain, delay, research and mitigate.

“We are working with our partners in the Welsh Government, the wider NHS in Wales, and others now that we have entered the ‘delay’ phase.

“This is now not just an attempt to contain the disease, as far as possible, but to delay its spread.”

Dr Shankar said the advice for the public had changed, with people no longer needing to contact NHS 111 if they believe they may have contracted Covid-19.

Instead, anyone with a high temperature or a new continuous cough should stay at home for seven days and should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

They should only contact NHS 111 if they feel unable to cope with their symptoms at home, their condition worsens or their symptoms do not improve after seven days.

“The move into the ‘delay’ phase, will include working closely with health boards, NHS 111 and the Welsh Government towards transitioning away from community testing and contact tracing,” Dr Shankar said.

“Testing will now focus on cases admitted to hospital, in line with national guidance, and based on symptoms and severity.

“The move away from community testing gives us greater capacity to test in hospital settings, where the most vulnerable patients will be cared for.”

The announcement of the new cases came as Adam Price, the leader of Plaid Cymru, wrote to Mr Drakeford about the outbreak.

He called for Mr Drakeford to use powers available under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984 to prohibit or restrict the holdings of events or gatherings.

“It is imperative that Wales uses all the powers already at its disposal in order to delay the spread of Covid-19 and we will support you in that endeavour,” Mr Price wrote.

Mr Price said the measures would give public reassurance and mitigate against community transmission of the virus.

As of March 12, a total of 945 people in Wales had been tested for coronavirus.

On Friday, the country’s health minister, Vaughan Gething, warned that up to 25,000 people in Wales could die amid a worst-case scenario.

He announced that non-urgent surgical procedures and outpatient appointments would be suspended to help the NHS in Wales cope with the virus.

PA