Wales is “close to a tipping point” with the number of coronavirus cases rising rapidly across parts of the country, the first minister has said.
Mark Drakeford said the number of patients with suspected or confirmed Covid in hospital had gone up “steadily over the last couple of weeks”.
“We’re heading back to the sorts of demands on the health service that we saw earlier in the year,” he said.
People in 17 areas of Wales now face local lockdown rules due to the virus.
A total of 1,667 people in Wales have died with Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to figures published by Public Health Wales on Saturday.
It also said 29,654 people have tested positive for the virus.
England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam has said the seasons were “against us” and the country was running into a “headwind” due to mounting cases.
Mr Drakeford told BBC Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement that, “while I don’t think we are in the identical position as they face across our border in England… I don’t think there’s a great deal of comfort to be drawn”.
He said the increase in cases was seen mostly in community settings, not from transmission from people mixing in the hospitality sector.
“Unless we are able to turn back the tide of coronavirus in the community, we will see our health service come under very significant strain,” he said.
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce tougher restrictions for England.
In a statement to MPs, he is expected to set out plans for a three-tier local lockdown system which would see every region in England placed in one of three tiers, depending on the severity of cases.
He has already rejected a call by Mr Drakeford to ban people travelling from Covid hotspots in England to Wales.
People in Wales cannot leave lockdown areas without a good reason, such as going to work.
Mr Drakeford said: “If it were to be the case that on Monday we hear that high circulation areas in England are to have a similar regime as the one we have in Wales, that will be a huge relief for us in Wales, but I think it is the right thing to do across the United Kingdom as a whole.”