The Welsh Government has announced plans to close all non-essential retail after Christmas Eve trading to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The decision is part of the new countrywide lockdown confirmed by First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Wales will move into alert Level 4 lockdown with tightest measures starting 28 December as the number of infections and those being treated in hospital for Covid-19 continues to rise.

As part of these measures, close contact services and all leisure and fitness centres will cease to operate for a temporary period.

However, click and collect will be permitted following strict measures outside of stores.

All hospitality locations will be closed from 6pm on Christmas Day.

Speaking of the development, Mark Drakeford said: We are seeing levels of coronavirus in some parts of the country that we haven’t experienced at any point before in this pandemic. This pandemic is putting our NHS under intense and sustained strain.

“There are more than 2,100 people with coronavirus symptoms in our hospitals – equivalent to five general hospitals fully occupied by people with coronavirus.

“This has been such a long and difficult year. We need to take this action to save lives and control the spread of this awful virus.”

In a recent development, the Dutch Government decided to keep all non-essential stores closed during the new five-week lockdown, which starts from 15 December until at least 19 January.