The number of people who have died in hospital with lab-confirmed coronavirus in Wales has reached 886 after 73 more deaths were included in the daily figures on Wednesday.
The latest daily update reported by Public Health Wales includes 30 deaths in Hywel Dda University Health Board which occurred between March 29 and April 24 and have been “retrospectively reported”.
Even without those, the number of deaths of people with Covid-19 has grown by 43.
Public Health Wales added that 117 more people had tested positive for Covid-19, the majority of whom are healthcare staff and hospital patients, to bring the total to 9,629.
The daily death total reported by Public Health Wales only includes lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in hospitals. The true figure is likely to be around 60% higher when deaths in care homes, hospices and at home are included by the Office for National Statistics. That figure had already passed 1,000 by April 17.
On Wednesday it was the turn of Counsel General for Wales, Jeremy Miles, to give the press an update on how Wales was tackling the outbreak.
The cabinet minister has been tasked with planning for Wales’ recovery from the pandemic which has decimated some businesses and industries.
This map shows where the deaths reported by Public Health Wales have been recorded:
This map shows where the most cases have been seen:
He started by reminding us that last week, First Minister Mark Drakeford published a framework which sets out how we will decide when the time is right to begin lifting the “very strict restrictions we’ve all been living under for the past six weeks”.
While he did not give any specific timescale, Mr Miles said the restrictions were under “constant review” and are currently helping to protect all of us from the worst of the virus.
“There will come a time, when we get the virus under control, that those restrictions will begin to lift,” he said,
“And so alongside our immediate response to Covid we are planning now for the future. We are planning for recovery, and what we want for Wales.”
However, he admitted that coronavirus will have a lasting effect on our economy, public services and communities.
“We cant go back to business as usual,” he said.
“We will be guided by our commitment to social, economic and environmental justice and by the values that have sustained Wales in difficult times.”
This chart shows how the number of cases has fluctuated every day
This chart shows how the number of deaths has fluctuated every day
Counsel General for Wales, Jeremy Miles
(Image: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire)
Mr Miles said Wales had found new ways of doing things and had reintroduced overseas jobs to create “sustainable and local supply chains” for NHS and social care services.
He said people are also making greater use of technology, with GP and consulted appointments now widely available online almost overnight.
The minister added that a huge number of people now work from home which has resulted in improved air quality and reduced congestion. But he acknowledged the challenges caused by some of these changes as well.
He went on to confirm that Wales’ recovery advisory panel, which includes former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Dr Rebecca Heaton and Paul Johnson, will hold its first virtual meeting on Friday.
He said it would allow “voices from outside Wales, and outside the UK, to help bring different perspectives and challenge to our work”.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown
(Image: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)
“[Gordon Brown] was prime minister at a time of difficulty in relation to the financial crisis, and so will bring a number of reflections from that first-hand experience,” said Mr Miles.
The minister added that a specific testing website for Wales will launch later this week, where key workers can register for a test, initially in Cardiff and Newport but rolling out to other parts of Wales.
When asked about the impact of coronavirus on tourism in Wales, Mr Miles said it has been “very severe”.
He said it may be the sector which has been “most adversely affected”.
The minister said that the timing of the outbreak is critical, as it’s occurring over the sector’s busiest periods: Easter and summer.
He added that financial business support from the Welsh Government has also been made available to the tourism sector.
Finally, when quizzed on why Wales was so far behind England in testing capacity, Mr Miles said the approach in Wales is based on “the best available advice which we get from scientists and medical officers”.
He said the focus that we have given to testing as a Welsh Government is on key worker testing and the symptomatic people within those groups.