WALES will go into full lockdown from December 28, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
The Welsh Labour leader said a “sustained rise in coronavirus” meant that the country would have to move into its highest level of restrictions.
Mr Drakeford also said the planned five days of relaxed measures would remain in place following talks between the four UK nations.
Some measures will come into force on Christmas Eve with all non-essential retail, including close contact services and all leisure and fitness centres forced to close from the end of the day.
All hospitality premises will be forced to close from 6pm on Christmas Day.
But tighter restrictions for household mixing, staying-at-home, holiday accommodation and travel will only apply from December 28, with the planned easing of Covid restrictions over Christmas remaining in place between December 23 and 27.
Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Government press briefing on Wednesday: “Many of you will have seen the warnings from senior clinicians about the huge impact coronavirus is having on the whole of our health service.
“The situation we are facing is extremely serious. We must move to alert level four and tighten the restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus and save lives.
“This new set of higher-level restrictions will apply to the whole of Wales.
“This means all non-essential retail, including close contact services and all leisure and fitness centres will close at the end of trading on Christmas Eve.
“All hospitality premises will close from 6pm on Christmas Day.
“And on December 28, at the end of the five day Christmas period, tighter restrictions for household mixing, staying-at-home, holiday accommodation and travel will apply.”