WALES is beginning to see signs of improvement in the spread of coronavirus, the first minister has said.

Speaking at the Welsh Government press briefing, Mark Drakeford said that the "path out of the pandemic" was now in front of us.

However, he warned that things can change quickly, pointing to the growing number of cases in the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Drakeford said: "This week we are beginning to see signs of improvement across most parts of Wales, but we know just how quickly things can change, and how quickly cases of coronavirus can spread again if we let our guard down.

"Our nearest neighbours in the Republic of Ireland had some of the lowest rates in Europe at the start of December.

"Just three weeks later the course of the pandemic there moved dramatically and today the Republic has the highest rates in the world.

"That is why it is so important that we all carry on following the basic rules we have learns so well.

"Stay at home, work from home where possible, do not mix with people outside of your household or support bubble.

"Our path out of this pandemic does now lie in front of us.

"Everyone has to tread that path in a way that keeps ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, safe from this terrible virus."


Mr Drakeford was speaking after the ONS put the number of coronavirus related deaths in Wales at more than 5,000, with more than 1,000 of those in Gwent.

The first minister said: "We are not here talking simply about numbers.

"These are people, they had friends, they had families and neighbours, they lived in communities, and worked in places of work.

"They had life still to live in front of them.

"Our thoughts are with those people who cared deeply for them and the loss that they feel to this cruel virus."