THE INCIDENT director for coronavirus for Public Health Wales (PHW) has provided some clarity on why daily coronavirus statistics in Wales do not include sub-local authority areas.

For months the Welsh Government and PHW have been fielding criticism for not providing more localised statistics to help people frame a better understanding of the pandemic’s impact on Wales.

The UK Government has published significantly more localised data than Wales.

Currently PHW only publishes the number of cases by local authority area.

But some of Wales’ local authorities are geographically very large and figures therefore are unlikely to show an accurate picture.

PHW does share the information on sub-local authority areas (like Penarth and Barry) with the Welsh Government and local authorities to better inform localised responses to outbreaks, but it has been reported that due to a lack of capacity at PHW, it is impossible for that data to be produced in an appropriate and understandable format for public consumption.

The intention is to develop a new map which will give more local information. While a date has not been confirmed, it is hoped this will be done in the coming weeks.

Dr Giri Shankar explained: “The surveillance team produces timely and accurate reports which can be easily interpreted by incident management teams, local authorities, health boards and Welsh Government - and the data is used to make decisions quickly.

“The demand placed on our surveillance team has grown considerably throughout the pandemic.

“While there are technical reasons why we refrain from producing sub-local reports, in general, the more granular the data is, the less valid the results will be.

“Where there are a low number of cases in a given locality, publishing this data could have an unintended consequences of risk of deductive disclosure, or put simply, individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 may be identifiable.

“Our intention is to develop Middle Super Output Area maps which will give more local information.

"At the moment, however, we are prioritising reports to local authority and health board Incident Management Teams to inform their local decision making."

In the last week some councils across Wales have begun publishing their own localised data online to better inform residents.