THE Welsh Government's counsel general Jeremy Miles has said the 37 reported deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday proves that the country’s fire-break lockdown is “absolutely essential”.

Mr Miles said 37 deaths from coronavirus have been recorded in Wales over the last 24 hours.

The figure, which is reported by Public Health Wales, is the highest amount of deaths in a single day since April.

Mr Miles told Wednesday's briefing in Cardiff: “What it tells us is that a fire-break is absolutely essential.

“And it tells us a deep fire-break of the sort the Welsh Government is asking people in Wales to observe is the right response in order to protect people’s lives and to protect the NHS in its capacity to keep us all alive.”

He added: “Yesterday, Public Health Wales recorded seven more deaths.

“Today, I’m sorry to say that it will confirm a further 37 deaths.

“My thoughts are with the families and friends who are mourning the loss of a loved one at this time.”

He started the briefing by showing a map of the seven-day rate of infection in Wales for the period up until October 24.

Merthyr Tydfil has the highest rate of more than 400 new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 people.

Wrexham has the highest rate outside of the south and is the only North Wales county in the 200 to 299.99 cases per 100,000 members of the population band.

Both Flintshire, Conwy and Anglesey are in the next band of 100 to 199.99 cases per 100,000 people.

Denbighshire, Gwynedd and Powys have a rate of 50 to 99.99 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

Mr Miles told the briefing that the fire-break lockdown would come to an end as planned on November 9, but we may not see the impact until two or three weeks after that.

"We've said from the beginning we don't expect to see the impact of the fire-break immediately," he said.

The counsel general added discussions are ongoing about whether contact with people and travel will be restricted when the country’s fire-break lockdown expires on November 9.

He said First Minister Mark Drakeford would announce a “clearer picture of what lies ahead” in the “coming days”.

“The sorts of measures which are under review are measures in relation to contact with other people, of course, measures around travel, and the sorts of restrictions we’ve been facing so far," he said.

“It’s important that as those ideas are being discussed that we’re also able to speak to our stakeholders and other partners in different aspects of government and other sectors in Wales, so that we can discuss whether those ideas are the right ideas for Wales, and that process is under way at the moment."

He also said: "I want to acknowledge the contribution made by people in Wales under local lockdown before the fire-break.

"It's important to know the measures you took have made a difference - the fire-break is because coronavirus was spreading fast.

"The intention is to have a national set of guidelines, rather than the local pattern we saw ahead of the fire-break."