A serious warning has been issued over the rapid rise of coronavirus cases in Cardiff.
Authorities said on Thursday that the increase in cases across the capital “could not be any more stark” as the country approaches Christmas.
Cardiff council said that the number of hospital beds in Cardiff and Vale University health board occupied by Covid patients and the numbers admitted to hospital was now higher than they were at the previous April peak.
A joint statement by the health board and council says “hospitals and primary care services are now under sustained pressure”.
In a statement addressed to Cardiff residents it said: “The increase in Cardiff case numbers that we are seeing now could not be any more stark. This needs to act as a warning to every one of us about the seriousness of the situation we are now facing.
“If current projections continue, then by Christmas week we will be seeing more than four times the number of new infections each day than we were seeing at the start of December. We know from the first and second waves that as case numbers increase, more people get seriously unwell, and we will see more deaths from Covid – many of which can be avoided if we act now.
“We are deeply concerned that our hospitals and primary care services are now under sustained pressure due to Covid-19, and sadly the number of people who are becoming very sick is increasing daily.”
As of Thursday, December 17 the latest figures showed 577.5 per 100,000 in Cardiff. The number of cases in people over 60 in the area has more than doubled in the last three weeks, the council said, approaching 400 cases per 100,000.
It comes as cases across Wales continue to soar with the infection rate currently 530.2 cases per 100,000 people across the country, based on the seven days up to December 12.
The statement issued by council leader Huw Thomas, health board executive director of public health Fiona Kinghorn and health board chair Charles Janczewski, urges residents to continue to follow Welsh Government rules ahead of Christmas.
It adds: “I know that will be painful for many, especially at this time of year, but if we do this now, we will be doing everything we can to protect our loved ones for the months to come.
“We know many people think that the vaccine is here so everything is going to be ok. That’s simply not the case. If we don’t change our behaviour now, many people will die before the vaccine is rolled out, people who don’t need to die, possibly people who you know.
“The full roll-out of the vaccine will take many months, so now is not the time to be complacent. Very few of us are immune. The virus is still prevalent in our communities and our hospitals and by practising social distancing, washing our hands regularly and wearing face coverings we are all doing our bit to help.”
See the number of cases where you live here:
It comes as Wales prepares to go into lockdown after Christmas.
Details of a £110m package of funding support for businesses in Wales will be revealed on Friday to help businesses affected by the shutdown. Follow live updates here.