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Wales implementing two-week national lockdown to slow virus spread

Wales implementing two-week national lockdown to slow virus spread
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Wales will impose a two-week national lockdown beginning Friday, officials announced Monday.

Restaurants, pubs and nonessential businesses will be closed, and non-household members will be banned from both indoor and outdoor gatherings, according to the BBC. Houses of worship will reportedly only be open for funerals and weddings, and Halloween gatherings will also be barred. Observances will, however, be permitted for Remembrance Sunday, when Britain honors those who fought in the two world wars.

Wales has a seven-day average of 130 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people. The country recorded 4,127 total cases between Oct. 9-15.

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The "time-limited 'firebreak'” will serve as "a short, sharp, shock to turn back the clock, slow down the virus and buy us more time,” First Minister Mark Drakeford said, according to the BBC.

In the meantime, Welsh universities will operate under "a blend of in-person and online learning,” he said.

Drakeford said the local lockdowns that had been used as a mitigation measure would no longer suffice. The government is imposing the national lockdown "partly because the gap between those parts of Wales where we have not needed local lockdowns, and local lockdown areas have been narrowing,” he said.

"We all want to see an end to this pandemic and our lives returned to us. Unfortunately, we do not yet have a vaccine, which will allow us to do that,” Drakeford added. “So this is our best chance of regaining control of the virus and avoiding a much-longer - and damaging - national lockdown. We have a small window of opportunity to act."

He added that there must “be an effort in which every single person, and every single part of Wales makes a contribution.”

Europe has seen a second wave of the virus in recent weeks, with some nations such as France imposing curfews in addition to renewed shutdowns.