A local lockdown is being put in place in Llanelli after a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething announced the changes as he addressed the nation on Friday lunchtime.

A large part of Llanelli will be classed as a 'Health Protection Zone' and this area will be subject to new and tougher restrictions, similar to those currently in place in Rhondda Cynon Taf and other areas.  

The new restrictions will be in place from 6pm on Saturday and will affect 13 council wards. The areas subject to the new restrictions are: Bigyn, Bynea, Dafen, Elli ward, Felinfoel, Glanymor, Hendy, Hengoed, Llanegennech, Lliedi, Llwynhendy, Tyisha, and Swiss Valley.

Speaking on Friday, Vaughan Gething said that eight out of ten positive cases in Carmarthenshire are linked to Llanelli, and that a majority of them "have been traced to people socialising without social distancing".

He said: "As cases of coronavirus are rising rapidly, we ave decided therefore decided introduce local restrictions in Llanelli."

The announcement comes following speculation earlier this week that Llanelli could be the subject of the first Welsh 'town-only' lockdown after health bosses and the local council spoke of a concern regarding the area.

On Wednesday, Dr Quentin Sandifer, medical director at Public Health Wales, said there was a “high level of concern” regarding Llanelli and that they were paying "particular attention" to the town. He also confirmed that it was a possibility that the town could be subject to a "sub-county" lockdown, as opposed to the county-wide restrictions seen elsewhere in Wales.

“Looking at the position in Carmarthenshire, we do see quite a significant variation within that county area, with the highest figures of concern in the Llanelli area," said Dr Sandifer. 

“That is where we are paying particular attention within Carmarthenshire. So we are able to go down to a sub-county, local level in terms of our considerations, and that is what we are actively doing.”

According to the coronavirus data released by Public Health Wales on Thursday, the county of Carmarthenshire had a rate of 47.1 confirmed cases of coronavirus per 100,000 population, based on the seven days up to Wednesday afternoon - a level which has been steadily rising for several days.

To put that into context, it is a higher rather rate than that seen in Newport when it was placed into lockdown on Monday.

In the seven day period mentioned above, Carmarthenshire has seen 89 confirmed new cases of Covid-19, after 1,751 tests were carried out..

However, it is thought that the figure is skewed by a high number of cases in the Llanelli area.

Newport, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Blaenau Gwent have all already been placed in local lockdowns.

Rhondda Cynon Taf currently has an infection rate of 123.5 cases per 100,000, while Blaenau Gwent has a rate of 136.

The new rules mean that people in Llanelli: