The number of people being hospitalised with Covid-19 is "increasing week on week," according to the Chair of the Welsh General Practitioners Committee.

With more health boards in Wales reintroducing the need to wear masks in hospitals, Dr Phil White said: "an increase in the number of cases of the Omricon BA.4 and BA.5 variants of Covid-19,” have led to this.

Although retired, Dr White still works the occasional shift at GP surgeries in Gwynedd and Ynys Môn, he told our sister title, Corgi Cymru.

"In the surgeries we've kept masks right through - we never stopped using them."

The variant that is currently around is "more infectious," according to Dr White.

“It doesn't seem so serious, but having said that, I know people who have been quite ill with it. The number of people transferred to hospital has increased. It's not to the same level that it was, but it's definitely spreading. ”

In addition to his family members and neighbours who are currently suffering with the virus, three members of the surgery's staff are ill, he said.

"One had caught it at the football match in Cardiff, one had been caught on holiday in Europe and the third was not sure where he had caught it."

His advice is: "If you're in a cramped place with lots of people, it's best to wear masks - in places like trains and buses, for example."

When it comes to the end of summer, Dr White said: “Then we would definitely look at giving boosters alongside the flu vaccine. We are aiming towards the end of September.

"There is evidence that if you put the vaccines together, they have a greater impact. So there is a chance that putting them together will lead to better immunity."

It is also possible to catch flu and Covid at the same time, he said: "The worst thing we can have this winter is an increase in people with covid and flu. I'm sure that would be fatal to vulnerable people.”

If the cases continue to rise by the autumn, then Dr White has no doubt, he said, there will be a "change in restrictions".

A spokesman for Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board confirmed that there has been an increase in the number of cases of Covid-19 "in our communities and that there has been an increasing number of cases on wards (in hospitals in the north). 

The increase in cases has lead to a rise in staff absences: "We ask all staff, patients and visitors to support us by wearing face masks in all clinical areas in all health and care settings, unless they are exempt," said the spokesperson. 

The Welsh Government were approached for comment and replied with this link.

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