Lockdown measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak will be extended for at least three more weeks.
Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the decision before Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab officially revealed the extension at the daily Downing Street briefing on Thursday.
Mr Raab, deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from the illness, said: “Any change to our social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus.”
He added relaxing rules could cause a “second peak” which would risk increasing deaths “substantially”.
Ministers agreed the need to prolong social distancing measures following meetings of the Cabinet and the Government’s emergency committee Cobra, amid signs the epidemic in the UK is beginning to peak.
The news came as the Department of Health said the Covid-19 death toll in hospitals in the UK had reached 13,729 as of 5pm on Wednesday, up 861 on the figure the day before.