WHAT is a circuit breaker lockdown and what will it achieve?

The Welsh Government will be making a decision on whether or not to impose a circuit breaker lockdown this morning.

Cabinet Ministers have been discussing the issue over the weekend to see whether short, harsher measures are needed to curb the spread of the virus.

But what is a circuit breaker and how does it differ to the national lockdown imposed on Wales and the UK in spring?

Professor Stephen Reicher, a member of the behavioural science advisory group for SAGE, said circuit breakers were an "emergency measure" to be used in a "crisis".

The aim is for shorter lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Professor Reicher said he believed that "what Wales is doing is right", but warned that on its own, a circuit breaker would not be enough.

Speaking to BBC News he said: "The figures show that the infections and hospitalisations are spiking.

"The circuit breaker can bring them down to a manageable level.

"But if you just have the circuit breaker, when you lift it, without putting other measures in place, then what will happen is infections will rise again."

He added that a circuit breaker lockdown gave the Welsh Government a chance to "reset" and keep infections down.

Professor Reicher said the time should be used to implement three things; a better test and trace system, a system to support people and help them stick to the rules, and a system of regulations to help employers and the hospitality sector stick to guidance.

He added: "It means support for people, not berating them for not going along with restrictions.

"If you can do those things then we can live with it. But if you just impose the restrictions and lift them, then it is not a very sensible thing to do."

Coronavirus cases across Wales are continuing to increase, and the Welsh Government feels extra action may be needed.

The first minister announced plans on Friday to introduce a “short, sharp” lockdown for a period of two to three weeks, although would not be drawn on the details of such a decision.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The measures we have put in place at both a local and a national level, with help from the people of Wales, have kept the spread of Covid-19 under check.

“However, there is a growing consensus we now need to introduce a different set of measures and actions to respond to the virus as it continues to spread across Wales more quickly during the autumn and winter months ahead.