Questions have been asked about why parts of Wales with low coronavirus rates have been included in the national fire-break lockdown that has been announced for Friday.

While Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil both have more than 200 cases per 100,000 people, numbers in other parts of Wales are much lower. Pembrokeshire has 37.4 and Ceredigion is even lower with 24.8. You can see t he cases in your area here.

But from 6pm on Friday, everyone in Wales is being asked to stay at home for two weeks to break the rapidly-increasing spread of coronavirus.

On Monday, First Minister Mark Drakeford ordered a two-week closure of all non-essential retail, gyms, leisure centres, bars, restaurants and hospitality venues, in a bid to break the chain of transmission. You can see the rules here and the only reasons you can leave your house here.

And today, he addressed why the whole of the country has been included in the sweeping restrictions. Wales' Technical Advisory Cell, which provides the information for these decisions, has also published its evidence.

Asked about whether it was fair to put the whole of Wales into lockdown, Mr Drakeford told BBC Breakfast: "The gap between the low incidence and high incidence areas in Wales has been narrowing over the last 10 days.

"If we don't take action, it is only a matter of time before even Ceredigion begins to feel the impact of the rising tide.

"In places like Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, they are rural areas of Wales, their hospitals are small which means even a modest rise in coronavirus cases will put the NHS there under real pressure.

"This is the point where we need a genuine, national effort in all areas of Wales. We need all citizens of Wales as part of one, great national endeavour."

Mark Drakeford has been explaining why the whole of Wales will go into a firebreak lockdown
Mark Drakeford has been explaining why the whole of Wales will go into a firebreak lockdown

The First Minister also insisted that the 17-day lockdown would not be extended.

He said: "This fire-break is designed to end on November 9, and that is what it will do. We need to make clear that we will not see the results of the lockdown by the November 9 because it takes longer than that for these measures to feed into falls in hospital admissions. The period is designed deliberately to be short, but very sharp.

"This is a very difficult time which is why in the end we have gone for the shortest possible period but if you are going to do it shorter, you have to do it deep."

Find the number of cases in your area with your post code:

The Welsh Government's Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has also published a report which explains in detail why a fire-break is needed now. Here are its reasons:

All Welsh local authorities now above threshold

It stated that all Welsh local authorities are now above the threshold of 50 cases per 100,000 population, with the exception of Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys. There is a similar picture for test positivity rates, where all council areas - apart from Pembrokeshire - are now above 5%.

The report stated: "There has been a clear pattern from around the world of incidence rising first in young people, before spreading into older age groups. No country has managed to contain their epidemic within lower-risk age groups.

"This is a result of there being substantial interaction between older people and all other age groups, as demonstrated by studies of contact patterns."

Restrictions are working

According to latest figures, the growth rate of positive cases is around 4% a day in Wales, while the TAG's "worst-case scenario" projections predict 18,000 hospitalisations and 6,000 deaths due to Covid-19 over the winter period.

The report added that while local lockdowns were working initially in Wales, fatigue has now set in.

"There is a high confidence that the local restrictions currently in place across many local authorities in Wales has led to a significant slowdown in the current wave of the pandemic," the report stated.

"The case incidence and positivity have been suppressed in some, though not all, local authority areas throughout most of September.

"The behavioural analysis from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on pandemic fatigue, as well as behavioural surveys and mobility data, show that compliance with the restrictions in place is waning."

People in Wales are catching the virus from people coming into the country

Analysis of waste water also found evidence that people in Wales are still catching the virus from those as far afield as the north west of England.

"Waste water sampling, case incidence analysis and insights from genomic sequencing of the virus show that there is now high confidence that there is a relatively heterogeneous seeding of the virus across the country. Seeding from areas of high incidence in the north west of England has penetrated as far as the Llyn Peninsula."

However, the TAG admitted that introducing a Wales-wide lockdown will cause significant harms.

The report added: "Both intervening and not intervening will cause harm: long and short-term harms, direct and indirect harms, economic harms, social and psychological harms and health harms. There could be a disproportionate impact on many different groups of people and it will be vital to mitigate against as many of the harms as possible.

"Limiting the size of a pandemic-related recession will save lives in the future as mortality is closely related to income and life chances."

One Wales-wide message avoids confusion

The TAG said that introducing one simple message across the country will help avoid confusion.

"Behavioural insights show that many measures will only work if the public are engaged, agree and understand that Covid-19 is a serious health threat that must be managed.

"There should be a clear, simple set of rules and messages with achievable actions and goals. Messages and rules should be fair and applicable to all, and should reinforce why people are being asked to make significant sacrifices."

Acting now prevents worse action in future — and buys time

The report added: "There is a reasonable likelihood that if we do not act now, we will need to take further, more expensive and longer action in the future to achieve a similar reduction."

The TAG said that the first UK-wide lockdown resulted in the R rate dropping from about 2.5-3.0 to about 0.5-0.7.

The aim of this latest fire-break "should act to reduce R below 1", the report stated.

"Over a fortnight’s 'break', two weeks of growth could be exchanged for two weeks of decay in transmission, assuming good adherence to measures, and no additional increase in contacts before or after the break.

"If this were as strict and well-adhered to as the restrictions in late May, this could put the epidemic back by approximately 28 days or more. The amount of 'time gained' is highly dependent on how quickly the epidemic is growing – the faster the growth or stricter the measures introduced, the more time gained."

Mr Drakeford was also asked how the Welsh Government is going to support businesses affected by the new lockdown.

He admitted it was going to be complex for some as they would have to apply for the furlough scheme in the first week of the lockdown, and then the Jobs Support Scheme from November 1.

"From the Welsh Government budget, we have found £294m that we will use to put money directly into the hands of businesses who are affected by the fire-break period," he said.

"As far as money for wages is concerned, what the Chancellor said in his letter to me was that in the first part of the fire-break period businesses will still be able to apply to the existing furlough scheme because it does not run out until October 31.

"The problem is that businesses will have to apply for one set of measures in the first week, and then a second set of support schemes in the second week.

"What I had asked the Chancellor to do was bring forward the Jobs Support Scheme to October 23. We offered to pay for the cost that would have involved for the Treasury from the Welsh Government's budget, simply to allow businesses to apply for one set of support from the UK, rather than the complexity that they are faced with."

When asked if Wales had gone too early into a national lockdown, Mark Drakeford told BBC Radio Five: "We have gone when we have gone because we think it is important to include half term.

"We need to put the interest of children at the forefront of what we are doing."

Asked if he could guarantee that if families follow the fire-break lockdown they could meet up for Christmas, he said: "The word guarantee is not one that I can sign up to.

"The aim of this measure, taking it now is that we will be able to get through to Christmas without needing to take further measures of this sort.

"The benefit of this period will not be seen by the end of it, our hope is that it will be sufficient that it will take us through to Christmas without needing to do it again."