WALES could use micro-quarantines focused on high-infection areas to avoid a second lockdown, the leader of Plaid Cymru has said.

The country’s health minister Vaughan Gething outlined the preparations being made by NHS and social care services for this winter yesterday (Tuesday).

Last Tuesday, a local lockdown came into force in Caerphilly county borough following an increase in cases there.

Clusters have also occurred in Wrexham, Anglesey and Merthyr Tydfil without the need for local lockdowns, although resources and community testing were focused in those areas.

Adam Price, the leader of Plaid Cymru, said a “smart lockdown” cluster-based approach adopted by countries such as Pakistan could be used instead of targeting a whole local authority area.

The measure is included in the party’s 10-point coronavirus plan, which also includes testing asymptomatic contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Mr Price said everyone should be encouraged to keep records of people they have had contact with, and the public should be regularly informed about avoiding closed, crowded and close-contact settings.

Plaid Cymru’s plan also calls for the wider use of face masks, including national guidelines for using them in schools and colleges.

“The evidence is now clear that we are poised perilously on the brink of a second wave of Covid-19,” Mr Price said.

“Infections are rising, and this may soon be reflected in hospitalisations and deaths.

“Returning holidaymakers, the easing of restrictions combined with less adherence with those still in place have combined in new disease spikes.

“Autumn now brings us the reopening of schools, the return of universities and colleges, a gradual return to work, colder weather closing off outdoor mixing as an option and the onset of the flu season.

“If we do not act, then winter could become a second wave that is even worse than the first, with little option than reintroducing a full lockdown.”

The number of new coronavirus cases in Wales increased by 183 on Monday – the largest rise in daily cases since May 19 – bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 19,573.

People in Wales must now wear face coverings in public indoor spaces, such as shops.

More than six people from an extended household – excluding children under the age of 11 – are also banned from meeting inside.

Andrew RT Davies, shadow health minister for the Welsh Conservatives, said the routine winter pressures faced by the NHS were likely to be “made worse” by Covid-19.

He said the testing regime in Wales had to be able to keep coronavirus isolated and out of care homes and hospitals, able to respond to spikes in demand and build capacity over time, and work across Wales.

“I would have expected the minister and his party to have delivered this plan – not despite, but because of Covid – before now, because we’re a fortnight into autumn, and winter is going to be on us soon enough,” Mr Davies said.