WALES will remain in lockdown next week, the country’s housing and local government minister has said.

Julie James told the daily coronavirus briefing in Cardiff: “It’s almost two-and-a-half weeks since we asked people to stay at home, to work from home whenever they can, and to stop making unnecessary journeys.

“These measures will stay in place next week. These are extraordinary times, asking people to completely change the way they live, work and socialise is not something we do lightly.”

Following her announcement, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford spoke in the first digital meeting of the Welsh Assembly.

He said: "The three weeks of stay-at-home restrictions provided for in legislation, and which we have all faced, are due to end next week.

"I must be plain with all members, these restrictions will not end then. 

"We will not throw away the gains we have made, and the lives we can save, by abandoning our efforts, just as they begin to bear fruit.

"Since we last met, I have discussed this matter with the First Ministers of Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the Secretary of State for Health in the UK Government and today with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Secretary of State for Wales. 

"There is more work to do, in reviewing the regulations and in receiving the most up-to-date scientific and medical advice.

"The precise nature of what will follow the current regime will be agreed over the coming days, but I need to leave Welsh citizens in no doubt. 

"The efforts we are all making are not yet over. They will not be over next week.

"Before the restrictions can begin to be lifted, and the return to normality begins there is more for us all to do.

"I thank every one of those thousands and thousands of people in Wales who make their contribution every day and who will go on doing so over the days ahead.

"Together we are making a real difference, we are protecting our NHS and, together, we are saving lives."