HEALTH minister Vaughan Gething has apologised on behalf of the Welsh Government as Wales passed 5,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths.

According to Public Health Wales, the official Covid-19 death toll is now 5,001, and the health minister has apologised "for every single life that has been lost" in the pandemic.

And he has also revealed that early on in the pandemic it was feared that single burials would no longer be possible for a period, so bad was the situation and the forecast.

“I’m deeply sorry for every single life that’s been lost, every family that’s been affected," he told the Welsh Government press conference on Monday afternoon.

He said those that died are not "just numbers, these are people who are loved and valued, and leave others behind”.

But Mr Gething said Wales was on the right track to bringing the pandemic to an end, and said at one stage the government had projected a potential loss of 26,000 lives in the country.

The R number - which shows the rate of transmission of coronavirus - is now below one in Wales, while the latest figures show there are around 115 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people.

He said the positivity rate - the percentage of tests which return a positive result - is also falling and "now stands at just below ten per cent”.


Mr Gething denied that the Welsh Government was naïve in its handling of the virus in the early stages, and instead praised the handling of the pandemic and the strict regulations that have come into force since Christmas.

When asked about the Welsh Government’s pandemic planning while cases were rising in China and mainland Europe, Mr Gething said that preparations changed as more information came to light and that the "reasonable worst case scenario" in their plans talked about hundreds of thousands of deaths across the UK and "nearly 26,000 deaths in Wales".

He said at one stage the government thought individual burials would no longer be possible.

“That shows how much worse the situation could have been,” he added.

"The reason we have taken the extraordinary measures we have, is to reduce the number of people coming to harm. Despite all of that, we know more than 5,000 people have lost their lives.

"We can be terribly confident that without the measures we've taken together, more families would be grieving.

"We must stick to what we're doing to drive down rates even further."