/Another eight people with coronavirus have died in Wales

Another eight people with coronavirus have died in Wales

Another eight people have died after contracting coronavirus in Wales.

Public Health Wales (PHW) confirmed on Tuesday that the total number of fatalities reported to them since the outbreak began now stands at 1,456.

However, as it can take two or three days for reports to reach PHW, the deaths have not all happened in the last 24 hours.

In addition, 65 new positive cases of the virus were announced by PHW to bring the total to 14,869.

A number of local authorities once again recorded zero new cases of Covid-19 including Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Powys and Swansea, while Anglesey and Conwy both had the most new cases with eight each.

Even though testing capacity has been increased to around 12,300 per day, on Monday just 3,012 were carried out.

New coronavirus cases reported in Wales today

The latest figures were announced following a press conference with Economy Minister Ken Skates who spoke from the Welsh Government headquarters in Cathays Park.

He started by highlighting that Wales had seen an “unprecedented” 10% drop in GDP, according to figures released last week.

Mr Skates warned there will be “difficult days ahead” in which many people will lose their jobs, and added that the ongoing pandemic would have a “very real and potentially lasting impact on the health of our economy”.

“All indicators point to unemployment on a scale not seen in Wales or across the UK for decades,” he said.

Economy minister Ken Skates at the press conference on June 16

Latest labour market statistics suggest that employment levels have been maintained in Wales at 74.4% over the past three months. But it is widely accepted that the full impact will not be revealed until the autumn when support like the furlough scheme is wound down.

Despite the gloomy outlook, he reiterated that the Welsh Government had provided the “most generous package of support for businesses anywhere in the UK”.

He said the Welsh Government will call on the UK Government to provide further support for the 316,000 people in Wales who have been furloughed, as well as more than 100,000 people who have benefited from the unemployment scheme.

“We are doing all that we can to mitigate the effects of this horrible disease, and our £1.7bn package of support means Welsh businesses have access to the most generous package of help anywhere in the UK,” he said.

“We have already allocated nearly £1bn of this to firms across the country, with more to come, and we will be reopening our £500m Economic Resilience Fund for further applications later this month.

“However, we need to complement our package of business support by providing crucial assistance to people who might have lost their job or training opportunity because of the pandemic.”

He added: “We are developing a comprehensive package of support that will allow people to upskill and find new employment so we can protect a generation – and particularly the most vulnerable in our society – from the potential scarring of unemployment. If required, we will use up to £40m from our Economic Resilience Fund to deliver this.

“We need to ensure this package will add value to any initiatives the UK Government might introduce and there is no duplication. This would be similar to the way our Economic Resilience Fund works.

“It’s also absolutely crucial that the UK Government provides further support for people who are currently furloughed and those at risk of losing their jobs.”

When asked about the economic impact on tourism in Wales, Mr Skates said the prospects of reopening the industry this summer were looking more likely as the ‘R’ rate had been driven down.

However, he would not give a date for when the Welsh Government hopes attractions and accommodation can reopen.

“We will not just select an arbitrary date and say ‘this is when we hope you will be able to open’,” added Mr Skates, who admitted he feared for the tourism economy when the pandemic began.

“We need to make sure when we declare a date we are able to commit to that date.”

On Monday, non-essential shops were allowed to reopen in England, but a date to do so in Wales has still not been set.

First Minister Mark Drakeford is likely to give more detail on Friday about when these will open as part of the Welsh Government’s three-weekly review.

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