Dr Chris Williams, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said:
“Public Health Wales is working with the Welsh Government, local health boards, local authorities and other partners following the announcement of national restrictions in Wales from midnight.
“Under the new restrictions, people must stay at home, except for very limited purposes. People must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with. Non-essential retail, close contact services, gyms and leisure centres, and hospitality will also close.
“Rules which allow two households to come together to form a Christmas bubble will now apply on Christmas Day only.
“As indicated by the Welsh Government, the immediate introduction of new restrictions is related to the identification of a new more transmissible variant of Coronavirus. Public Health Wales has been working with UK partners to investigate and respond to this variant.
“It is normal for viruses to undergo mutations, and we expect this to happen. Although the variant is easier to transmit, there is currently no evidence that it is more severe.
“We are reminding people that all current guidance relating to Coronavirus continues to apply to the new variant, including advice relating to symptoms, social distancing, self-isolation, and vaccination.
“The new variant shows up as positive in Public Health Wales’ existing Coronavirus tests, and people must continue to seek a test in the usual way if they develop Coronavirus symptoms.
“If you or a member of your household develop a cough, fever or change in sense of taste or smell, you must self-isolate immediately and book a free Coronavirus test, either by calling 119 or by clicking here.
“Public Health Wales urges everyone to follow the rules, to avoid transmission of Coronavirus and to protect everyone in our communities, including the most vulnerable.”