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Live Reporting

Nicholas Bourne and Caleb Spencer

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye

    That concludes our coverage of today's Welsh government briefing, with the health minister warning tougher restrictions cannot be ruled out over Christmas in response to the Omicron variant.

    • A total of 30 cases have been identified so far in Wales
    • Some NHS staff will have to cancel their leave in order to deliver a n accelerated booster vaccine programme
    • The Welsh government is expected to announce the results of its next Covid rules review on Friday
    • Use this link to get the latest updates
  2. What's happening in the other nations?

    New guidelines on social contact are expected to be outlined by Scotland's first minister later.

    BBC Scotland political editor Glenn Campbell said this could include advice on how many other people or households you should meet in one day.

    The limits are expected to be advice rather than law - and there could be exceptions around Christmas.

    The Scottish government has been looking at measures that Ireland has already put in place, which say that no more than four households should gather together in someone's home.

    Meanwhile, MPs are set to debate new restrictions for England to deal with the Omicron variant shortly.

    They will be voting on four measures, including the introduction of mandatory Covid passes to enter large venues.

    Covid sign
  3. People 'frustrated' over jab appointments

    Plaid Cymru’s Rhun ap Iorwerth said the Welsh government had not clearly explained how the enhanced booster programme will be delivered.

    “There’s sky-high expectations from the public but I have not yet seen how that is going to be delivered in practice,” he said.

    The Member of the Senedd for Ynys Mon also said it was “disingenuous” of the government to urge people to come forward for boosters.

    “The problem I’m getting with my constituents is not with people coming forward, but people frustrated in not knowing when they are going to get their vaccination," he added.

    A man being vaccinated
  4. More restrictions 'last thing we need'

    Welsh Conservative health spokesman Russell George said he did not think there was enough information yet to demonstrate the need for further Covid restrictions.

    "We know that the moment we've got a lower rate of the new variant in Wales, we're yet to see that increase, as the projections have, perhaps, suggested," he said.

    "So we're not yet in a position where we need to be talking about restrictions and I hope that, of course, remains the case."

    If there were to be such restrictions people would "want to have some indication of what they're going to be," he added.

    "I think that's the very last thing we need, following the kind of Christmas that we had last year."

  5. How many people have died with Covid in Wales?

    Public Health Wales has reported two further deaths with coronavirus and 1,819 new cases.

    It takes the cumulative total number of deaths to 6,491 and the total number of cases to 541,254.

    However, figures from the Office for National Statistics - which are widely considered a more accurate reflection of the situation - show the number of deaths involving Covid in Wales has passed the 9,000 mark, and stand at 9,051.

    The seven-day rolling case rate per 100,000 people has fallen slightly to 499.4, compared to 500.1 on Monday.

    The testing positivity rate remains unchanged at 16.9%.

    Both the newly reported deaths were in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg area, which covers Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Bridgend.

  6. No change to self-isolation advice

    The Welsh government will continue to ask anyone identified as a close contact of someone with Covid-19 to self-isolate for 10 days.

    Health Minister Eluned Morgan was asked if there was a plan to follow England where close contacts take daily lateral flow tests for seven days.

    Ms Morgan said the situation would remain under review in Wales.

    "So, at the moment, we are continuing with our recommendation for anybody who comes into contact with the Omicron variant should self isolate for a period of 10 days.

    "Clearly, we'll keep this situation under review as we see increasing numbers within our communities.

    "At the moment, we're still in the kind of contained phase - we've only got 30 cases in Wales.

    "So we'll continue with that phase for as long as we're able to but, clearly, the situation may change very rapidly and will adapt when and if that situation arises."

    Covid test
  7. Public asked to honour booster appointments

    The Welsh health minister says she hopes everybody will receive their booster vaccine “before the peak of the Omicron wave hits us”.

    Eluned Morgan was clarifying what the promise to offer all eligible adults a booster jab by the end of the month would mean in practice.

    “We do hope to make sure that everybody will be able to take up that option, not just to have it offered but to take up the option,” she said.

    And deputy chief medical officer Dr Gill Richardson said a successful booster programme "depended on the incredible Welsh public coming forward to take their slots".

    "Every slot that is missed, every appointment that is delayed, is a delay to the whole programme," she added.

    View more on twitter
  8. Minister does not want to cancel Christmas

    Eluned Morgan

    Tougher restrictions cannot be ruled out over Christmas, Wales' health minister has said.

    Eluned Morgan said she does not want to "cancel" Christmas. But she said nothing was being taken off the table.

    “I want to be clear, however, that while vaccination is our best defence against coronavirus, we will need multiple layers of protections and measures in place to keep Wales safe from a large Omicron wave," she said.

    “We have already taken steps to increase protections in Wales but we’re likely to need more as the variant becomes embedded in our communities.”

    She said NHS staff would have to cancel their leave in order to deliver the vaccine booster programme.

    "We’re asking a huge amount of the NHS," she said.

    "We’re asking staff to cancel leave and to work in clinics day and night up to and through Christmas to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of people in a matter of weeks."

  9. Walk-in lanes to open in mass vaccination centres

    View more on twitter

    Dedicated walk-in lanes will set up at mass vaccination centres in Wales to boost the number of people being vaccinated, Ms Morgan says.

    She told a press briefing that the Welsh government would be “targeting these walk-in slots at particular groups of people”.

    She said opening hours would also be extended beyond the current time of 09:00-20:00 GMT.

  10. Booster appointments due within days

    Everyone who has had their first and second Covid jab will be offered a booster appointment by text or phone call within days, according to Health Minister Eluned Morgan.

    “As well as giving people appointments, we’ll also be asking some people to come to a walk-in slot at one of the newly extended vaccine clinics," she said.

    “We will continue to call people forward in order of risk.

    “We’ll need to more than double the speed of the programme if we’re going to be successful."

  11. Omicron present across Wales

    Health Minister Eluned Morgan said the the Omicron variant of coronavirus was present in each of Wales' seven health board areas.

    View more on twitter
  12. Mass vaccination centres to open for longer

    The health minister said many mass vaccination centres would be expanded to have dedicated walk-in lanes.

    She said the government would be “targeting these walk-in slots at particular groups of people” with opening hours extending beyond 09:00-20:00 GMT.

    “This will mean asking NHS staff to vaccinate from early in the morning to late into the night to make sure as many people as possible have the extra protection the booster dose offers," she said.

  13. NHS focus 'will need to shift' to vaccinations

    Medic with vaccine

    Health Minister Eluned Morgan said the government has been working with Wales' seven health boards since the weekend to make changes to the Covid vaccination programme.

    “To go further and faster” involves redeploying clinical staff, she said.

    This would mean that “the focus of the NHS will need to shift towards vaccinating people for a short time”.

    “The NHS will continue to provide essential services, emergency and urgent care," she said.

    “But we will be redeploying all available clinical staff to vaccination centres.

    “We’ll be asking them to work in existing mass vaccination centres which will be expanded to their maximum capacity and in new centres."

  14. 'All need booster dose to increase protection'

    Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Gill Richardson said everyone needs a vaccine booster dose as a protection against the omicron variant.

    She said vaccine effectiveness against severe disease from Omicron was still emerging.

    “But the message is clear - two doses of the vaccine is not enough to protect us against omicron," she said.

    "We all need a booster dose to increase our protection against the virus."

    Image caption: The first case of the variant in Wales has been found in the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board area
  15. Omicron present across Wales and 'growing daily'

    Health minister Eluned Morgan has confirmed that Omicron is present across Wales.

    Speaking at the Welsh government’s coronavirus briefing, the minister said: “Cases of omicron are growing daily”.

    “It is now present in every health board area in Wales.

    “We must be prepared for cases to rise very quickly and steeply."

    In a bid to tackle Omicron, she confirmed that the government was “aiming to offer” all eligible adults an appointment by the end of December.

  16. BreakingNHS staff to be redeployed to vaccination centres

    All available NHS clinical staff will be redeployed to vaccination centres, Wales' health minister has announced.

    Eluned Morgan has been outlining how the Welsh NHS will expand its booster programme.

    She said the NHS will continue to provide essential services, emergency and urgent care, but will otherwise shift its focus to vaccines.

    Meanwhile walk-in lanes will be set up at mass vaccination centres, with slots targeted at particular groups.

  17. Can the Welsh NHS cope?

    Patient receives booster jab
    Image caption: Helen Whyley said the health service faced "real problems" in the next few weeks

    Helen Whyley, director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales, has described the "massive challenge" of getting so many people vaccinated before the end of the year.

    "Given where we are with shortages of staff we're going to have to think carefully," she said.

    "Moving frontline staff to the vaccination programme means that you've got to slow down or stop those services, so those are the real problems that are going to be faced now in the next few weeks."

    But she added it was "absolutely the right thing to try and expand the booster programme".