19 MORE people have died after testing positive for the coronavirus in Wales, taking the number of deaths to 117.

Public Health Wales (PHW) also said there were 284 new cases of the disease in Wales, bringing the total number to 2,121, though the true number of cases is likely to be higher.

The second biggest rise after the Aneurin Bevan Health Board was seen in the Cardiff and Vale Health Board area which had an increase of 68, taking the total to 528.

“We offer our condolences to families and friends affected, and we ask those reporting on the situation to respect patient confidentiality," Dr Robin Howe, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at PHW said.

Earlier today, NHS Wales Chief Executive Andrew Goodall said half of critical care beds in Wales are unoccupied, showing Wales has the capacity to cope with the pandemic and prepare for a peak in May.

And he added that more than 6,000 new beds will be made available to the NHS with temporary hospitals in Cardiff, Swansea, Cwmbran, Llandudno and Llanelli.

It comes as questions are being asked about the involvement of health officials in England over the collapsed deal to supply coronavirus testing equipment to the NHS in Wales.

The row over testing has intensified since it emerged at the weekend that the deal with Roche had collapsed.

The Swiss pharmaceutical giant has denied ever having a "contract or agreement directly with Wales" to supply tests.

The Welsh Government had planned from April 1 to be able to do 6,000 tests daily, instead of the current 1,100.

"The single most important action we can all take in fighting Coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS, and save lives.

“We know that staying at home can be hard, and we want to thank each and every person across Wales for doing their bit to help slow the spread of the virus.”

“Members of the public must adhere to social distancing rules about staying at home, and away from others, introduced by the UK and Welsh.

“People no longer need to contact NHS 111 if they think they may have contracted Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Information about the symptoms to look out for is available on the Public Health Wales website, or members of the public can use the NHS Wales symptom checker.

“Anyone with a suspected coronavirus illness should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. They should only contact NHS 111 if they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days.

“Only call 999 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not call 999 just because you are on hold to 111. We appreciate that 111 lines are busy, but you will get through after a wait."