First Minister Mark Drakeford told a Welsh Government press conference the Omicron "storm" had hit Wales.

"Omicron is now the dominant form of the virus in Wales and cases are rising rapidly every day," he said today, January7.

Mr Drakeford said the previous waves of coronavirus across Wales "are nothing compared to the size and speed of this Omicron wave".

"Cases are far higher now than they were at the peak of the previous waves," he said.

"Unlike previous waves, which have lasted many months, we believe this one will be short-lived," he said.

"This is because of the speed Omicron is moving at. We haven't reached the peak of this wave yet. This could be another 10 to 14 days away."

First Minister Mark Drakeford told a Welsh Government press conference the latest figures show there are more than 2,300 cases per 100,000 people across Wales.

"Cases are highest among 20 to 40-year-olds, but we are also seeing rises in older age groups as community transmission increases rapidly," he said.

"These are worrying figures but they are in line with the modelling forecasts.

"Omicron is a very infectious form of the virus, which is moving quickly from person to person whenever we are in close contact with one another.

"Every contact is an opportunity for the virus to spread. As cases rise steeply in the community, the number of people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 is also rising."

Mark Drakeford said there were 994 people being treated with coronavirus in Welsh hospitals - a rise of 43 per cent compared to last week and the highest number since last March.

"There are around 40 people with Covid-19 in critical care at the moment. The majority have not been vaccinated," the First Minister said.

"Omicron is putting significant pressure on the NHS at the busiest time of the year - not just from rising hospital admissions but through staff absences.

"Our NHS workforce, which has worked so hard throughout the pandemic, is not immune to coronavirus."

Mr Drakeford said the latest figures suggest staff absences from illness and isolation across the NHS is 8.3 per cent but it is as high as 16.5 per cent in some NHS organisations.

"We are already seeing the consequences of these high rates - some planned procedures and treatments are being postponed and some health boards are asking people to only come to A&E if they have life-threatening emergencies," he said.

First Minister Mark Drakeford told a Welsh Government press conference almost 1.7 million people had received a Covid-19 vaccine booster.

"The rapid rise in cases caused by the Omicron wave means we are all facing a difficult month ahead," Mr Drakeford said.

"We have already seen extremely high levels of infections in the community since Christmas and we must be prepared for cases to rise even higher in the coming weeks - just as they have elsewhere in the UK.

"We can take some comfort from the fact this form of the virus may not be as severe as we had initially feared.

"But the speed at which it is travelling and its infectiousness continue to be cause for concern.

"We have put proportionate measures in place to help keep Wales open and keep Wales safe as we navigate our way through this omicron wave.

"But we need everyone's help to do this. Over the next two weeks it will be more important than ever to keep on doing all those things which have helped to protect us all throughout the pandemic."

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has denied the Welsh NHS has been "overwhelmed" by the Omicron variant.

He said: "I don't think it would be right to describe it as being overwhelmed but the health service in Wales is quite certainly having to deal with the very real impact of coronavirus - both in the way it is driving more people to fall ill and then to need hospital treatment but the fact staff in the health service are themselves falling ill from the Omicron wave.

"Health boards are having to make difficult decisions, such as in maternity services, to concentrate the staff they have available in fewer places so that a service can go on to be provided.

"Not overwhelmed but quite certainly facing very challenging circumstances."