Extremely vulnerable people should not attend work or school outside of the home, the Welsh Government has advised.

The Welsh Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, issued a written statement calling for "clinically extremely vulnerable" who fell into the previous shielding category, to take extra precautions.

He said: "This is particularly the case for those whose work requires them to be in regular or sustained contact with other people, or where individuals share a poorly ventilated workspace for long periods.

"Letters from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales (CMO) will be issued confirming this advice but will take some time to reach individuals due to the festive period. These letters can be used as evidence for the purposes of claiming statutory sick pay."

This decision has been influenced by the significant recent growth in rates of infection, possibly due to the new variant of the coronavirus.

"We have also taken account of the pressures we see on our health service with increasing hospitalisations," the health minister said.

"This advice will be reviewed on a three-weekly basis aligned to the Welsh Government reviews of alert levels across Wales.

Individuals in this group are already subject to the regulations in place at level 4 gov.wales/alert-level-4 and should stay at home as much as possible.

However, the group can still go outside to exercise and also to attend medical appointments.

"We must remain conscious of the harms associated with isolation for long periods and therefore those in this group can remain part of a support bubble, as long as they take care.

"We have been clear that the safest option for people within this group is not to be part of a Christmas Bubble.

"However, if they choose to do so they should follow the advice provided on our website gov.wales/christmas-advice-people-who-were-shielding which includes keeping contacts to an absolute minimum, meeting for short periods in well-ventilated areas, maintaining strict hand and surface hygiene and staying 2 metres away from others."

The minister warned that letters will face unavoidable delays and has asked employers to take note of the change in advice and to help support their employees.

Guidance for those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable will be updated soon at gov.wales/guidance-protecting-people-defined-medical-grounds-extremely-vulnerable-coronavirus-covid-19