WALES could be hit by a "wave" of Omicron variant cases in the New Year, the First Minister has claimed.

Mark Drakeford issued the warning while addressing the Senedd on the "perilous" new Covid-19 variant.

Five Omicron cases have been confirmed in Wales to date, but the First Minister warns this is expected to rise substantially, with a peak by the end of January.

He said: "Last week the first case of the Omicron variant was confirmed in Wales. We now stand on the brink of another potentially perilous moment in our efforts to keep Wales safe and to keep Wales open."

"While there is a great deal to be learned and any modelling is provisional we have to brace ourselves for the potential for a formidable wave of new infections in the New Year, potentially just six weeks from now, if we cannot slow the spread of this new variant."

He also appealed for people to get vaccinated if not already.

"When you receive your invitation for a vaccine, whether first, second or booster vaccination please make it your priority," Mr Drakeford said.

"It is the best Christmas present you can give yourself and your family this year, and it's not too dramatic to say that it's an investment in making sure that you are here for a healthy and happy Christmas next year as well."

It echoes comments from Welsh Health Minister Eluned Morgan about the risk the variant presents of another wave of the virus this winter.

“What we don’t know is how sick this variant will make you," she said.

"That is why we are rolling out boosters are quickly as possible."

She refused to rule out a tightening of restrictions over Christmas. The First Minister is due to announce his latest review of Covid restrictions this Friday.