A second fire-break lockdown is likely early in January or February, a Welsh Government minister warned this morning as the row over essential items shopping continues.

Deputy minister for economy and transport Lee Waters said people should be prepared to come in and out of lockdowns until a vaccine against coronavirus is found.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales Sunday Supplement programme this morning he said: “This is not the last lockdown we are going to see."

Deputy Minister for economy and transport Lee Waters

He said the first and second lockdowns came too late and cases and deaths are rising again.

“We are doing our best to flatten the curve. We can’t stop the curve, we can’t stop the virus spreading. Our best hope is to wait for a vaccine to help us bring it under control.”

Use this tool to check case figures in your area:

Asked by presenter Vaughan Roderick if the Welsh Government risked losing the support of people after the essential shopping row, Mr Waters said this was being looked at, but suggested there would not be a change in policy on what supermarkets can and can’t sell.

Nearly 40,000 people have now  signed a petition  calling on the Labour administration to reconsider the ban on supermarkets selling non-essential goods. The row has intensified over the weekend with images of supermarket aisles selling books and baby clothes, among other items, roped off.  

The petition reads: "The Welsh Government, as part of its 17 day fire-break lockdown, is banning the selling of non-essential goods from shops that are allowed to remain open. We do not agree that this is a prudent or rational measure, and will create more harm than good.

"We do not agree for example that parents should be barred from buying clothes for their children during lockdown while out shopping. This is disproportionate and cruel and we ask that the decision be reversed immediately."

The book and card section in a branch of Tesco in Swansea on Saturday, October 24

Mr Waters suggested supermarkets could make a judgement on issues such as parents needing to buy a microwave to heat baby milk.

“It’s very difficult to draw a line and the problems we have been having over the last 48 hours are teething problems so in some supermarkets you can buy greetings  and batteries and in others you can’t," he said.

“Now you should be able to do all those things because these things are available (to buy) in sectors we are not asking to close. In newsagents, for example, are allowed to stay open, so things newsagents sell supermarkets should be allowed to sell.

“That’s what the First Minister said on Twitter last night. We are going to sit down with supermarkets to review how things have gone over the weekend.

“We are not reviewing the requirements for supermarkets not to sell non-essentials we are going to review how it’s working in practice. Clearly there are some bumps.”