A TWO-WEEK 'firebreak' lockdown will be introduced across Wales from 6pm on Friday, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed.

Mr Drakeford told a Welsh Government press conference in Cardiff that the measure was necessary to reduce the spread of coronavirus and prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.

The 'sharp and deep' lockdown will begin at 6pm on October 23 and last until November 9, with everyone in Wales 'required to stay at home'.

"The only exceptions will be critical workers and jobs where working from home is not possible," Mr Drakeford said.

Under the measures, all non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses will close 'just as they had to during the March lockdown'.

Community centres, libraries and recycling centres will also close while places of worship will be shut other than for funerals or wedding ceremonies.

Childcare facilities will stay open, with primary and specialist schools reopening after the half-term break.

Secondary schools will also reopen after half-term but only for children in years seven and eight, though students taking exams will be able to attend for them.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford described the measure as a 'short, sharp, shock to turn back the clock, slow down the virus and give us more time'.