Wales’ vaccination rollout has “weakened the link” between contracting coronavirus and hospitalisation, the health minister has confirmed.
Eluned Morgan, speaking at the Welsh Government’s press conference on Monday afternoon, said even the threat of the more transmissible Delta variant is not having a significant impact on hospital admission rates. Follow live updates from that here.
Across Wales the seven-day Covid infection rate has now risen to 95.6 cases per 100,000 people in Wales, with more people are coming forward for testing every day.
But when compared with the second wave, daily hospital admissions and bed occupancy rates are currently far lower – and that’s been attributed to the vaccine programme which has seen almost nine out of 10 adults have their first vaccine and two-thirds both doses.
“We are increasingly confident this wave will not cause the same level of serious illness and harm as the previous waves we have experienced in Wales,” said Baroness Morgan.
“This is thanks in large part to our fantastic vaccination programme, which has been delivered by the NHS.”
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She added: “In the last few days, there’s been a small increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with covid – there are around 100 people with Covid in hospital at the moment.
“We’re watching these numbers carefully. But we believe vaccination has weakened the link between the virus and hospitalisation, even in the face of the new Delta variant.
“This doesn’t mean that you’re invincible if you’ve had two doses of the vaccine but it does mean it’s really important that you complete the course – one dose is not enough.”
However, NHS Wales chief executive Dr Andrew Goodall warned that 86% of all hospital beds were full – the vast majority not Covid related.
“Demand for urgent and emergency care is back to pre-pandemic levels – and at times it is even busier,” he said.
“Delivering this level of care while we still have strict infection control and social distancing measures in place to protect staff and patients from coronavirus is difficult. It means the productivity and efficiency of the NHS is affected.
“In primary care, more and more services are being provided – NHS dentists are bringing more people forward for routine treatment – and in some parts of the system demand and activity is higher than it was before the pandemic.”
Meanwhile the World Health Organisation said that a new coronavirus wave has hit mainland Europe as the number of new infections has increased for the first time in 10 weeks.