Non-urgent outpatient and surgical care will be suspended in Wales due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The news was announced during a press conference held by First Minister Mark Drakeford, Health Minister Vaughan Gething and NHS Wales chief executive Andrew Goodall.
Speaking on Friday, Mr Gething said the most important action was to give staff time to train and be re-deployed as the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow.
He said the decision will allow for services and beds to be reallocated in priority areas as emergency services staff prioritise coronavirus.
The UK government worst-case plans estimates there could be as many as , – 38, 12 coronavirus deaths in Wales .
To allow the Welsh NHS to prepare for the spike in cases expected to come, the decision has been made to suspend NHS emergency service and health volunteer support to mass gatherings and events.
But access to cancer and other essential treatments like renal dialysis will be maintained.
NHS staff in Wales have also been told to reconsider their annual leave.
Mr Gething stressed it will be “months” before Wales reaches the peak of the coronavirus spread.
The decision has been made to:
Mr Gething said that the estimate by scientists was for , possible deaths in Wales with a maximum figure of , 13.
He said: “Of course we hope it would be less of an impact than that but we have to plan for that.
When asked how that figure had been reached, Mr Gething said: “From the scientific modeling that’s been done, these figures are in the public domain and referenced in the action plan.
“We expect over , but a maximum of ,
“This is not a trivial matter, it’s really significant and serious. It’s why we’re making this statement this afternoon. “
He added:” Our NHS online and telephone service is available and has been protecting our vital primary care and emergency department services from undue demand.
“The key principle is to keep people safe and to keep patients out of clinical settings if there is no urgent need to attend.
“Our NHS and Social Care system is working hard to care for those people who have been confirmed with coronavirus whilst also continuing to deal with the health and social care needs of the Welsh population. “
On Friday the First Minister confirmed none of the cabinet ministers in Wales have been affected by coronavirus so far. He said there are contingency plans should any of the Cabinet become unwell and need to isolate.
There are currently 208 confirmed cases of Co vid – (in Wales after) new patients were announced on Friday.
It comes as the UK total increased by 208 cases in the last hours to reach . Friday afternoon it was announced that the game against Scotland had been called off after mounting criticism over the decision to carry on with the game at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.
Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Catherine Calderwood, confirmed Scotland’s first patient died on Friday after contracting coronavirus.
The patient was an older person in the Lothians who had essential health conditions, she said.
All Premier League and EFL ma tches scheduled to take place this weekend have also been suspended until at least Friday, April 3.
As on March , 36754 People have been tested for the virus in Wales. The map below shows where the confirmed cases are:
Of the new cases announced on Friday:
- Four are in Caerphilly local authority area
- Two are in Swansea local authority area
- One is in Anglesey local authority area
- One is in Cardiff local authority area
- One is in Carmarthenshire local authority area
- One is in Flintshire local authority area
- One is in Monmouthshire local authority area
- One is in Newport local authority area
- One is in Powys local authority area
Under current advice by Public Health Wales, anyone with coronavirus symptoms including a cough or fever is asked to self-isolate for seven days.
Only certain groups of the population will now be routinely tested, such as healthcare workers, to allow them to continue providing care.