Here are the coronavirus morning headlines for Tuesday, December 1, as business groups warn the move to ban alcohol in Welsh pubs and restaurants will devastate Wales’ hospitality industry, with closures “guaranteed”.
From Friday, Welsh pubs, restaurants and cafes will be banned from serving alcohol and will be unable to open to customers beyond 6pm. The rules are here.
The announcement was made by First Minister Mark Drakeford on Monday. You can follow live updates from that here and read the speech in full here.
Bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play centres, casinos, skating rinks and amusement arcades will also have to close. Why Wales is stopping pubs selling booze but letting gyms stay open
The Conservative leader in the Senedd, Paul Davies, said the national approach from the Welsh Government was unfair on areas with low Covid rates.
Plaid Cymru said hospitality was “paying the price” for a lack of stricter measures after the firebreak lockdown ended on 9 November.
Mr Drakeford said without changes there could be between 1,000 and 1,700 preventable deaths over the winter.
Many businesses reacted by closing their venues saying it wasn’t “viable” to stay open. Devastating post from Bar 44 lays out why all their Welsh venues will now shut.
Ian Price, director of business lobby group CBI Wales, warned closures and job losses were “all but guaranteed” in pubs and restaurants.
“The first minister’s announcement is devastating for a Welsh hospitality sector that’s already reeling from a damaging cycle of restrictions,” he said.
CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said: “Restrictions that force hundreds of pubs to close and devastate trade for those able to remain open to serve meals could be the final straw for Welsh pubs and the breweries that supply them.
“There is simply no evidence that a draconian alcohol ban will stop the spread of Covid-19. What is clear is that our pub culture is being used as a convenient scapegoat for the spread of the pandemic.”
JD Wetherspoon boss attacks Wales’ ‘ludicrous’ pub alcohol ban
The head of pub chain Wetherspoons has joined heavy criticism of the Welsh Government’s new rule banning pubs and restaurants from selling alcohol.
Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said the measures were puritanical and a sad reflection of “groupthink”.
He said: In my opinion, these puritanical measures, involving a ludicrously early closure of pubs and other businesses, combined with an alcohol ban, are a sad reflection on ‘groupthink’ in political and medical circles in Wales.
There have been a very low number of transmissions of the virus in pubs, as many commentators have noted.
Wetherspoon has had no reports at all of the virus being transferred from staff to customers or vice versa. We have had no cases either of an outbreak among customers reported to us via the test and trace system.”
Mr Martin added: There is no science at all behind these moves by the Welsh Government. They will be ruinous for the hospitality industry and will cost the taxpayer a fortune- and theyre guaranteed not to improve health outcomes. Read more of his views here.
People told to leave Cardiff and house parties raided by police
More than 200 vehicles were stopped and issued fines over the weekend for breaching coronavirus regulations in an operation by South Wales Police.
Eight people were issued with fixed penalty notices as part of a roads policing operation utilising new powers which was implemented at 9am on Friday, November 27.
A further 25 people were also warned and instructed to leave Cardiff.
Police say that those travelling in breach of the legislation included a couple from Essex who said they travelled to Cardiff to give family Christmas presents, and a group of nine who were travelling in convoy to visit friends in university.
During the weekend of November 28 and 29, 214 vehicles were stopped by police during the course of the operation which aimed to ensure those visiting Cardiff were doing so without breaking coronavirus regulations.
Since fire-break lockdown restrictions were lifted earlier this month, the Welsh capital has been very busy with people finishing off their Christmas shopping and visiting bars and restaurants in the city. What people were fined for here.
Latest figures for Wales
A further three people have died with coronavirus in Wales and more than 800 new positive cases have been confirmed.
The latest statistics released by Public Health Wales (PHW) on Monday show 802 people have tested positive for the virus in Wales in the last 24-hour period.
It brings the number of positive tests since the outbreak began beyond the 80,000 mark (80,342), while 2,540 people have died with lab-confirmed coronavirus.
The infection rate across Wales as a whole now stands at 212 per 100,000 people based on the seven days up to November 26. This is an increase from 211.3 on Sunday.
Torfaen remains the county in Wales with the highest infection rate, with a seven-day rate of 442.7, down from 453.4 on Sunday.
Blaenau Gwent is the second highest with a rate of 428 , down from 433.7 the previous day, while Neath Port Talbot is third with 345.4 , up from 327.3 on Sunday. Cases for your area here.
Hope Welsh lab will be producing vaccine in next ‘few weeks’
Boris Johnson has said a Wrexham laboratory could provide “salvation for humanity” when it starts producing coronavirus vaccines.
The Prime Minister said “if we’re lucky” a coronavirus vaccine could be available “in a few weeks”.
He said it is hoped the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will be produced at the site in north Wales.
Telling reporters: “This could – could, if we’re lucky, if everything goes right – be available just in a few weeks.
“This could – and I stress could – really be the salvation for humanity, these vaccines, not just this one but obviously all the vaccines that are currently being developed.”
He said the Government is announcing “extra cash” so the nation is ready to create vaccines for the next pandemic.
“What we need now is the approvals. It must be stressed that no vaccine has yet got MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) approval but we’re obviously hoping that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca will get approved in the course of the next few days and weeks,” he added.
People who don’t get vaccine ‘could be barred from restaurants, pubs and cinemas’
The NHS Covid-19 app could be adapted to show who has had the jab and might then be used to ban people from hospitality venues, it has been reported.
Minister for vaccines Nadhim Zahawi said the jabs would not be compulsory, but suggested people who refuse to get one could be barred from restaurants, pubs and cinemas.
He said: I think it is right that it is voluntary. People have to be allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to be vaccinated or otherwise.
Asked if there would be an immunity passport, Mr Zahawi said a persons Covid vaccine status might be included in a phone app that would inform doctors of a persons status.
He added: But also I think youd probably find that restaurants and bars and cinemas and other venues, sports venues, will probably also use that system as theyve done with the app.
The sort of pressure will come both ways: from service providers, who will say look, demonstrate to us that you have been vaccinated but also we will make the technology as easy and accessible as possible.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed at the Downing Street press conference that ministers are looking at whether the hospitality sector could refuse access to those who have not taken up a vaccine.
Boris Johnson facing Tory rebellion
The Prime Minister is braced for a damaging Tory rebellion as MPs vote on a new toughened system of tiered coronavirus controls for England.
The Government is expected to win Tuesday’s Commons vote on the new rules – which are due to come into effect the following day – after Labour said it would abstain.
Sir Keir Starmer – who has previously backed Government measures – said while his party had “serious misgivings” it would not be in the national interest to vote them down when the virus still posed a “serious risk”.
However, with scores of Conservative MPs deeply unhappy at the extent of the restrictions, the vote is likely to throw Tory divisions into sharp relief.
Many backbenchers are furious their constituencies face stricter controls than before the latest lockdown which ends on Wednesday.
At a No 10 news conference on Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he hoped some areas could be moved into lower tiers when the restrictions come up for their first fortnightly review on December 16.
But scientists advising the Government have made clear they see little scope for any widespread easing before Christmas.
It could mean most areas of England will go into the new year in one of the toughest two tiers with a ban on households mixing indoors and strict controls on the hospitality sector.
Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been designated for the lightest Tier 1 restrictions.
Results from rapid coronavirus test
The Government said a rapid coronavirus test that gives results in 20 minutes has been confirmed as having high sensitivity to the virus.
An evaluation carried out by NHS trusts and universities found the OptiGene RT-Lamp test to be effective in identifying infectious cases, including for people not displaying symptoms, in contrast to a report by the Guardian earlier this month claiming the test identified only 46.7% of infections during a trial in Manchester and Salford.
It comes as the head of operations for the mass community testing programme, General Sir Gordon Messenger, said the scheme may not be able to reach areas in Tier 3 until “January and beyond”.
Pop star apologises for ‘spur of the moment’ decision to break Covid rules
And finally, pop star Rita Ora has apologised for her “spur of the moment” decision to attend a birthday party which broke coronavirus rules.
The singer admitted she had been at a “small gathering” with friends to celebrate her 30th birthday and said it was an “inexcusable error of judgment”.
Scotland Yard confirmed that officers had been called to an address in Notting Hill, west London, on Saturday night amid a breach of Covid regulations.
It follows reports of other gatherings organised by celebrities, prompting a reminder from Downing Street that coronavirus rules apply to everyone.
(Image: PA)
In a post on her Instagram story, Ritual singer Ora said: “Hello all, I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday.
“It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK…
“I’m deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk.
“This was a serious and inexcusable error of judgment.
“Given the restrictions, I realise how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility.
“I feel particularly embarrassed knowing first-hand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness and being fully aware of the sacrifices that people and businesses have made to help keep us all safe.
“Even though this won’t make it right, I want to sincerely apologise.”
It is understood that Ms Ora has volunteered to pay any fine imposed as a result of her actions.

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