UK Covid live: Indian variant could put hospitals under serious pressure again, warns trusts body

The first minister said there were now 26 cases of the mutated strain of Covid-19 across Wales, up from 17 yesterday, with each case associated with foreign travel as opposed to community transmission.

Scientists believe the Indian variant may be more transmissible than the UK variant first detected in Kent last year, and may be linked to India’s second wave.

With indoor hospitality and entertainment venues due to reopen in Wales on Monday, the country’s chief medical officer, Frank Atherton, has advised a pause to further easements until more is known about the risk the variant poses.

Drakeford said he had planned to reopen “food festivals that you see held in very local communities, to small events like live music or arts”.

He said the UK government’s Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) group was expected to give its advice later on Friday, with the Welsh government’s own scientific advisers reporting back “very shortly”.

Drakeford also confirmed that though international travel would be allowed from Monday under a traffic light system, the government’s concerns about reimporting the virus meant it would advise people not to travel abroad during 2021.

“If ever there was a year to holiday at home and enjoy everything that the wonders of Wales has to offer then this surely is the year to do just that,” he said.

Drakeford said he did not “wish to make anybody feel guilty” about holidaying abroad, but wanted to ensure “people make those decisions with their eyes open”.

He also said it would be up to individuals to “weigh up the risks” if deciding whether to attend any of Wales’s delayed Euro 2020 football games in Azerbaijan and Italy during the summer.

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