The number of COVID-19 cases in Ceredigion continues to increase at an alarming rate.

We have now reached the highest level of cases since the beginning of the pandemic, at 225.6 per 100,000 population (as at 20 December 2020).

That is how critical the situation has become in Ceredigion and we are therefore asking you to think seriously about your plans for Christmas.

The new variant of COVID-19 is in all parts of Wales. It spreads faster and we all need to be more vigilant and follow the guidelines.

Wales has entered Alert Level 4 which means that we can only go out for food, education, care, health or work, if we cannot work from home. We must only travel when essential. We must not meet with people we do not live with, either indoors or outdoors. A person living alone or a single parent can form a support bubble with one other household.

These rules will be eased for Christmas day only when 2 households can come together to create a ‘Christmas bubble’ in Wales. A third household can join the Christmas bubble if:

  • it’s a household where one adult lives alone
  • where one adult lives with children under 18; or
  • where more than one adult lives, but one adult has caring responsibilities for all of the other adults in the home.

But a smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas. If you decide to meet on Christmas Day, make it small and local.

We are asking you to think about whether you should be coming together with your families this year. We would all like to spend time with our families in what has been a difficult year, but think about the harm this could cause.

The fewer people we mix with in our homes, the less chance we have of catching or spreading the virus.

By coming together indoors, the risk of spreading the virus increases. This will result in an increase in the number of people getting the virus, which will result in the number of people being admitted to hospital increasing and sadly, this will mean more deaths from COVID-19. But, we can all work together to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Don’t put your older family members at risk. Think whether it is the right thing to come together this Christmas. Think about postponing until the spring when many of the most vulnerable people will have received the vaccine, the weather will be better and you can enjoy each other’s company without the worry of spreading the virus.

To reduce the risk of transmission, follow these behaviours:

  • You can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of no more than two households
  • You can only be in one Christmas bubble
  • You cannot change your Christmas bubble
  • Keep your Christmas local
  • Keep your visit short
  • Limit your social contact in the lead up to Christmas, especially for at least 5 days before you meet other households in your bubble, and by working from home if you can
  • Make space between members of different households wherever you can, even within your Christmas bubble, indoors and outdoors
  • Let in fresh air – try and keep your windows or doors open
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • If you are feeling unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms, do not form the Christmas bubble and you must self-isolate immediately, only leaving home to get tested. A test need to be booked online or by phoning 119
  • If you have to travel on public transport, wear a face mask at all times and ensure that you exercise good hand hygiene – use hand sanitiser regularly.

Be aware of COVID-19 symptoms. They include a high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss or change to sense of smell or taste. But there are also other symptoms early on, such as headaches, tiredness and general aches and pains usually associated with flu. We are urging people who feel unwell to be extra cautious, especially to practice hand hygiene and distancing, and if in doubt, please book a test.

The best gift this Christmas is a COVID-19 free Christmas. Let’s work together to ensure that we can achieve this.

Together, we can keep Ceredigion safe.