MINISTERS will make crucial decisions this weekend about potentially locking down the country in a ‘circuit breaker’, the First Minister has said.

Speaking at the latest Welsh Government press conference, Mark Drakeford told the nation that the virus has “well and truly woken up” in time for the winter months.

In just a few short weeks, coronavirus has been circulating in every part of Wales and the nation is now facing a “very serious situation”.

In response, the First Minister says that a circuit breaker lockdown designed to deliver a "short, sharp, shock" to coronavirus is the most discussed option at present amongst ministers – and the most advised option by Government advisors and SAGE.

He said: “We are looking very carefully at introducing in a time-limited fire break, also known as a circuit breaker, of the type recommended by Sage and by our own advisors here in Wales.

"This would be a short sharp shock to the virus, which could turn back the clock, slowing down its spread and buying us more time and vital capacity in the health service.

“Unless we are able to get coronavirus back under control, there is a real risk that our NHS will be overwhelmed. If that happens then even larger numbers of people will die as a consequence. None of us want to see that.”

As well as a shock to the virus, Mr Drakeford acknowledges that this action would see an impact on every person’s life across Wales.

He says: “We would all have to stay at home once again to save those lives, but this time it would be for weeks, not for months.

"We are considering a two or three week fire break. The shorter the period, the sharper the measures will have to be."

"These are incredibly difficult decisions and we have not yet come to a final conclusion about whether a fire break is the best way to act."

Mr Drakeford makes a call to the public saying that there are ‘no easy options’ to bring COVID-19 under control and that we all have a responsibility and a part to play in bringing that risk back down.

"Doing nothing is not an option," Mr Drakeford tells the public.

He warns that these extreme measures were not a "magic wand" to make coronavirus "disappear," but would give local authorities time to limit the damage coronavirus is causing in communities

Mr Drakeford said that no decision has been made yet over the much stricter short-term measures to limit the spreading of the coronavirus, and expects to make an announcement on Monday about the weekend talks with ministers.