Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

Natalie Grice and Andy Roberts

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye

    That's all from our live coverage of the first minister's coronavirus update. Here's a reminder of the main points from Wednesday:

    Public Health Wales said there would be a delay in today's update on deaths and new cases of Covid-19 - we'll have the details and further updates on the pandemic on the BBC News website.

    Thanks for joining us. Have a good afternoon.

  2. 'Mixed messaging' for Christmas rules, says Plaid Cymru

    Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price says there’s “potential for confusion and mixed messaging” as a result of the decision to allow Covid rules in Wales to be relaxed over Christmas whilst strengthening the public guidance.

    First Minister Mark Drakeford has said only two households "should" meet up although agreed UK-wide rules said three households could mix.

    “It is absolutely the right thing to do to change the guidance - that's why we call for certainly as a minimum because of the worsening situation in Wales," Mr Price said.

    “I wonder whether it would be better as well to change the rules in line with the advice so that you get a very, very clear message and that there's not confusion.

    “It's about getting a clear message to people that we need to hunker down a little bit harder in order to keep everyone safe.”

    Adam Price MS
  3. Highest-ever number in hospital in Wales with Covid

    Graphic showing Covid patients in Wales by health board area

    More records are tumbling in the coronavirus world.

    The highest number of Covid patients in hospital in Wales has been recorded with 2,143 on 14 December, 305 more than the week before, a 17% rise.

    Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board in south Wales has seen a 22% rise in Covid patients.

    It has risen over the week in all health board areas apart from Betsi Cadwaladr in north Wales, while Aneurin Bevan in south east Wales had the most patients, 620, its highest number.

    Across Wales as a whole, 1,374 were confirmed Covid-19 patients, along with 155 patients with suspected Covid, and 614 who were recovering from the virus.

    Recovering patients were not counted until the end of May, but these numbers are now at the highest levels since then.

    Covid-19 patients make up 27% of all patients in hospital. This compares to around 18% at the end of May and is slowly rising.

    There were 98 people being treated on invasive ventilated beds, including in critical care, for confirmed or suspected coronavirus on 15 December - the most since the end of April.

    Doctors are also known to be trying to treat more seriously-ill patients without putting them on ventilation. NHS Wales recently estimated about 12% of admissions were now needing critical care, compared to 30% during the first wave.

    Of those in critical care, 27 were in Cwm Taf Morgannwg, 17 in Cardiff and Vale, 16 in both Swansea Bay and Aneurin Bevan, 12 in Hywel Dda and 10 in Betsi Cadwaladr health boards.

    Latest figures from NHS Wales Informatics show there were 90 patients in critical care with other conditions.

    There were 219 beds available on 14 December, which meant there were 31 beds unoccupied or vacant, including only two in Cwm Taqf Morgannwg. Occupancy was already 36 above the usual capacity for critical care.

    The seven-day average in total daily admissions to hospitals of confirmed and suspected Covid-19 cases remains fairly steady if slightly up, running at a daily seven-day average of 89 for confirmed and suspected Covid-19. This is around 10% currently of all hospital admissions.

    Graphic of Covid hospital admissions in Wales
  4. Welsh Tory says Christmas announcement 'causing more confusion'

    Welsh Conservative health spokesman Andrew RT Davies said the first minister's announcement of updated Christmas restrictions and guidance was causing “more confusion”.

    Mr Davies said Mark Drakeford was unable to give full details of his plans as he was still awaiting a joint statement from all four governments in the UK.

    He said people needed all the information so they could make an “informed judgement”.

    “That’s no way to deliver this really important news – news which will have implications for how people will spend this really important Christmas period”.

    Andrew RT Davies
  5. Freedoms over Christmas 'must be used carefully'

    The additional freedoms being granted over Christmas “must be used carefully responsibly, and cautiously”, Wales' first minister has said.

    Mark Drakeford was speaking after the four nations of the UK agreed to allow the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions to go ahead despite some calls for the rules to be toughened in light of the current situation.

    “There's more than one form of harm from coronavirus and to prevent people from meeting at all over the Christmas period would bring a different sort of harms with it,” the first minister said.

    Explaining the decision to close non-essential retail businesses after the end of trading on Christmas Eve, Mr Drakeford said: “The modelling does demonstrate that if we were to have a position in which large numbers of people come together for Boxing Day sales, then that's another form of mixing.

    “And whenever people get together the risk of coronavirus rises.

    “We are not in a position in Wales today where we could knowingly allow those risks to take place.

    “Such is the seriousness of our position that we will have to act to minimise those risks wherever we can.”

  6. Q&A: Which rules are changing in Wales and when?

    Boxing Day shopper

    As a new set of rules is announced in Wales for Christmas and beyond, here's what you need to know.

  7. Hospitality 'can come to orderly close' after Christmas

    People drinking outside a pub

    Allowing hospitality businesses to stay open until 18:00 GMT on Christmas Day will mean the industry “can come to an orderly close” for lockdown, the first minister said.

    Mark Drakeford’s comments came after he was asked why the industry was not being shut down sooner in light of the seriousness of the current situation.

    “We are anxious not to face that industry with additional difficulties at this point,” Mr Drakeford said.

    “And we are very alert to the fact - as I've said a number of times already today - there's more than one form of harm from coronavirus.

    “We know that many people who live alone arrange their Christmas by booking a meal on Christmas Day, so that they can be in the company of other people.

    “I wanted to be able to honour that so that those people do not face an even bleaker Christmas, even more alone than they otherwise would be with all the other harms that come from that.

    “Everything we do is a balance between one form of harm and another.

    “Allowing hospitality to continue to 6pm on Christmas Day protects the plans that people have made - particularly those who are lonely and isolated - and allows the industry itself to come to an orderly close.”

  8. What does Wales' level four alert mean?

    From 28 December, the whole of Wales will be moving to a level four alert.

    The Welsh Government's updated Coronavirus Control Plan says this is equivalent to a lockdown, with the closure of non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure centres and attractions.

    However schools, colleges, places of worship and parks will generally stay open.

    Wales Level four Covid restrictions graphic
  9. 'Clear message' on two households meeting in Wales

    People meeting in house

    First Minister Mark Drakeford says the "clear message" in Wales is that "only two households should meet" over Christmas.

    "That is how serious things are in Wales," he said.

    He added: "Whether that's guidance, whether that's regulation - the message is the same.

    "The message is identical in either case - only two households should get together.

    "That's how serious things are".

    Mr Drakeford also said a joint decision by the UK's four nations will be published later today.

  10. First minister asked to clarify household mixing

    Asked to clarify the position on household mixing, this is what the first minister had to say.

    "The position in Wales is so serious that over the Christmas period only two households should get together, and we will allow one single-person household to join in that arrangement over the five-day period," he told the press briefing.

    Mark Drakeford said further guidance would be available later: "Later today, we will publish joint advice across the UK, explaining that a smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas.

    "The right thing to do in Wales is to stick to two households mixing."

  11. Four nations 'unanimous' in keeping Christmas rules in place

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the four UK nations have "unanimously" agree to keep relaxed Christmas Covid rules to allow more household mixing, although some advice will change.

    The current rules allow three households to meet between 23-27 December around the UK.

    His statement comes after First Minister Mark Drakeford told journalists the advice in Wales was that people "should" only form two-household because of the coronavirus situation in the nation.

    Boris Johnson
  12. New advice published for people shielding

    Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford says new advice has been published for people who were in the shielding group.

    He said the chief medical officer for Wales has provided "special advice" for people who were previously shielding about mixing over Christmas.

    "This is available on our website and we will be reinforcing this across the UK and in Wales."

  13. One in five testing positive for Covid in Wales

    Speaking about the tightening of restrictions being announced for Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford said Covid cases had risen “week on week”.

    He said: “One in five people are testing positive for the virus”.

    Mr Drakeford added the number of people in hospital with coronavirus symptoms had risen to “record levels”.

    “More than 2,100 people, equivalent to five full general hospitals, and the number of people in intensive care with coronavirus is at the highest level in this second wave – at 98," he added.

    Mark Drakeford MS
  14. Serial testing to be used for schools and police in Wales

    Serial testing in schools will be rolled out in January as an alternative to self-isolation for teachers and students, the first minister has said.

    Mark Drakeford told the coronavirus press briefing the new rapid-result tests would be used to help people stay in work.

    The measure will also be extended to police and to used to "support care home staff to stay in work".

    England has already announced mass testing for schools in England from January.

  15. BreakingOnly two households 'should' come together for Christmas in Wales

    Only two households in Wales "should" come together to form a bubble at Christmas, the first minister has said.

    Mark Drakeford said a "smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas".

    "The fewer people we mix with in our homes, the less chance we have of catching or spreading the virus.

    "None of us wants to be ill this Christmas. And we don’t want to give coronavirus to our close family or friends."

    However he did not say the official rules allowing three households meeting had been changed in Wales.

  16. BreakingCovid rules tighten in Wales over Christmas and beyond

    Closed shop

    All non-essential retail in Wales, close contact services like hairdressers and nail bars, leisure and fitness centres must close at the end of trading on Christmas Eve, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.

    Outlining new rules because of the "extremely serious" Covid situation in Wales, he said pubs, restaurants and cafes must also close from 18:00 GMT on Christmas Day onwards.

    After the relaxation period for household mixing between 23-27 December, Wales will go into a level four lockdown on 28 December where "tighter restrictions for household mixing, staying at home, holiday accommodation and travel will apply".

  17. How to watch the first minister's briefing

    We'll be posting updates from the Welsh Government briefing which is being led by First Minister Mark Drakeford from 12:15 GMT.

    You can watch it live on BBC One Wales, on the BBC iPlayer, via the Wales Today Coronavirus Update video link at the top of this page or on S4C.

    Mark Drakeford
  18. Vaccinations paused at centre after staff get Covid

    Needle drawing vaccine from a bottle

    Injections at a mass vaccination centre in Cardiff have been paused after nine members of staff tested positive for Covid.

    Cardiff and Vale health board said other staff at the centre in Splott were being tested.

    Anyone identified as a close contact would be invited for a test.

    The board added that no "additional risk has been identified to anyone who has been vaccinated at the centre".

  19. More than 7,800 Covid vaccinations done in Wales

    There have been over 137,000 Covid vaccines carried out in the UK, including 7,897 in Wales in the first seven days of rollout.

    Nadhim Zahawi, the UK government's minister for Covid vaccine deployment, called it a "really good start" to the programme.

    View more on twitter
  20. Relaxation of Covid rules to remain for Christmas

    The four nations of the UK have agreed to allow the relaxation of Covid rules around Christmas, despite calls for them to be toughened, the BBC's Nick Eardley is reporting.

    It’s understood there’s broad agreement not to change legal regulations, although the final wording of the agreement is being worked on. A statement is expected soon, confirming details.

    Much stronger advice urging people to be cautious around Christmas is likely later today.

    It’s understood some parts of the UK may toughen advice on household mixing over the festive period too.