MONMOUTHSHIRE residents must avoid complacency or risk following the county's neighbours into local lockdown, the council has warned.

It is now the only council area in the Gwent region to be free of local restrictions designed to combat rising cases of coronavirus infection.

Council chief executive Paul Matthews said the current situation in Monmouthshire is "more optimistic" than in neighbouring Torfaen – which entered local lockdown at 6pm on Monday – and in Newport, Blaenau Gwent, and Caerphilly.

“We are doing ok but we can’t be complacent," Mr Matthews said on Monday. "With our neighbouring authorities under tighter restrictions, we have a lot to protect.


"We look every day at what’s happening to the east of us in Herefordshire, in Gloucestershire and in Bristol as well as into Wales.

"We know many of our residents work out of county – we have to care about what’s going on not only where you live, but also where they work which is why we are doing all we can to help and support other areas in Gwent.

"We may need their support in the future because things can change so quickly."

On Monday, one of Wales' 286 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 was recorded in Monmouthshire. The county has 1.1 case of the virus per 100,000 population – this is the lowest of any council area in Wales.

Mr Matthews urged residents to continue following the rules and maintain the freedoms of movement they currently enjoyed – people living in local lockdown areas, for example, cannot meet indoors with anyone not in their immediate household.

“Should cases start to rise, we have to be ready to act," he said. "Right now we are tracking the situation closely.

"The remainder of South East Wales is under more severe restrictions than we are. They can’t travel as freely, they can’t be away from home overnight and they cannot visit members of extended families indoors. These are freedoms worth fighting to maintain as we head into the winter."

He encouraged residents to download the UK government's new Track and Trace app, and keep following the public health rules.

“Time spent outdoors is good time, and even though we can travel more freely than our neighbours, think hard on whether your journeys are really necessary," he said. "Monmouthshire’s residents should feel rightly proud of what they’ve achieved so far – keep doing what you’ve been doing; don’t let down your guard.”