A 17-DAY “circuit break” lockdown will come into force in Wales from 6pm next Friday, according to a leaked letter.

The Welsh Government is due to announce a decision on whether to impose a national lockdown on Monday (October 19), but details have been outlined in a letter to transport operators from John Pockett, director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport Cymru.

The letter, first published by political blogger Bubble Wales on its Twitter feed on Saturday, says the circuit breaker will start at 6pm on Friday, October 23, and last until 0.01am on Monday, November 9.

In a letter to all CPT Cymru members, Mr Pockett writes: “We have met with officials this morning (October 16), but this is a very fast moving situation with decisions still to be made by ministers, much of the detail has not yet been agreed by the government. Nevertheless, I wanted to tell you what we know so far.”

The leaked document explains that “the message for public transport will be essential journeys only” and that “it will take us back to the situation in March when all but essential retail outlets were open – pubs, cafes, restaurants, hairdressers etc – will all be closed”.

The letter adds that while government ministers have not yet determined the details on schools, plans suggest primary schools will reopen on November 2 – after the half-term break.

On Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said no final decision had been made about introducing a lockdown, which would deliver a “short, sharp shock”.

Mr Drakeford held talks on Saturday ahead of Monday’s announcement – last week he said his government was “very actively talking about and preparing for” a circuit-breaker lockdown in Wales and called on the UK Government to consider adopting a short-term lockdown in England.

In Wales, 17 out of 22 local authority areas are under local lockdown and the Welsh Government has banned visitors from tier 2 and 3 areas of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A four-week “circuit breaker” came into force in Northern Ireland on Friday, including the closure of pubs and restaurants, the extension of the half-term holiday from October 19-30 and advice against “unnecessary” travel.

In response to the letter, a Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The measures we have put in place at both a local and a national level, with help from the public, have kept the spread of the virus under check.

“However, there is a growing consensus that we now need to introduce a different set of measures and actions to respond to the virus as it is spreading across Wales more quickly through the autumn and winter.

“We are actively considering advice from SAGE and our TAC Group. A 'fire break' set of measures to control Covid-19, similar to that described in the SAGE papers, is under consideration in Wales.

“As the first minister set out in his press conference on Friday, we have discussed this advice with stakeholders and partners. But no decisions have been made.”