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Carmarthenshire

Hywel Dda Health Board Chair: Please don’t lose hope – vaccines are here

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Maria Battle, the chair of Hywel Dda Health Board talks about the roll-out of COVID vaccinations in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.

“People are naturally tired and weary and frightened after almost a year of being under the siege of this pandemic.  It`s easy to lose faith and trust after such a long time in lockdown, in the middle of a dark winter and when the media is constantly full of reports about the virus. Many of us are questioning when will this be over? When am I going to get my vaccine or my second dose? Where will I get it?

“We are blessed that three vaccines have been approved for use in the UK and two are now being rolled out across Hywel Dda. The first vaccine, Pfizer, arrived and was given in West Wales on December 8th 2020. In that first week we received 975 doses and it was quite an emotional moment realising this was the beginning of the end of this dreadful time. Because of the need to keep the vaccine at such a low temperature, and the strict time limits it has to be given before it spoils, it was decided that Glangwili Hospital, in Carmarthen, was the most suitable venue to start with. The first people to receive the vaccine were front line health and social care staff, from Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, who are putting themselves at risk every working day. We also need to keep them as safe as we can to care for us all.

“Since then more Pfizer vaccines have been arriving each week which has enabled mass vaccination centres to be opened in Cardigan and Haverfordwest with plans for centres in Aberystwyth within the next week, and then Llanelli to follow. To begin with they are concentrating on vaccinating our 24,500 health and social care frontline staff, care home and domiciliary care staff and we will make further announcements if and when we may be able to use these for other groups, as vaccine supplies increase and we will also consider opening other mass vaccination centres if and when needed

“We received our first limited supplies of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine on 2nd January 2021

“In those first weeks, because of UK Rules, the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine could only be supplied to the three health board GP managed practices, one in Pembrokeshire and two in Carmarthenshire. Other GP practices had to register with Public Health England to receive their supplies directly.  The Health Board is supporting this and sharing our supply with any GPs who have had problems ordering, so that all our 48 practices should have the vaccine before the end of this week. This means we have mass vaccination occurring the length and breadth of Hywel Dda, closer to home and in familiar surroundings. Community pharmacies are also ready and willing to give the vaccine and we are working with them to enable this when possible and as our supplies increase.

“Subject to receiving supplies we are aiming to have offered vaccines to all care home residents and staff, frontline health and care staff and everyone over 70 or who is clinically vulnerable in the Hywel Dda area by mid-February 2021.  Then all the remaining priority groups in Phase 1, decided by the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vaccination, by Spring, and all eligible adults in Phase 2 by the Autumn *see notes to editor below

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“I visited Cardigan Vaccination Centre last this week.  As the lead nurse told me it was so easy to find with the large yellow road signs.  There were volunteer marshals in the car park, administration staff from the local authority and the health board to book you in, nurses and vaccinators from across the region, supported by young RAF personnel. A seating area was provided for people to sit for 15 minutes after their vaccination to make sure all was well. Many of the people being vaccinated were domiciliary and care workers. They told me that most of all they were pleased for the people they care for as it would help stop them worrying. There was a similar story in Glangwili Hospital with military like precision in administering the vaccine. People aged over 80 in Tenby GP surgery car park all gave me a positive story about their experience and were very grateful to the staff.

“It is important that all the information about the vaccine, how many supplies we receive and how many vaccines have been given, and where, is regularly in the public domain. We are publishing a weekly vaccine bulletin to show this information and how we are working our way through the priority groups, you can find this on our website or social media channels and we are grateful to the local media for publishing updates also.

“The whole team, with all our partners and volunteers, are working tirelessly to carry out the biggest vaccination programme ever in the history of the NHS. We are giving as many vaccines as supplies allow in the best way possible. The programme is accelerating at a remarkable pace – it took 31 days to reach our first 10,000 vaccinations but only 11 days for the second 10,000.  Our real time date, which gets checked, is showing that we have vaccinated more than 20,000 people from Hywel Dda UHB area, which represents more than 5% of our population. This will significantly increase each week until together we win our fight against this pandemic.”

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Ammanford

Man who filmed rape on Ammanford victim’s phone changes plea mid trial

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A man who filmed himself raping an Ammanford woman on his victim’s phone has changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial.

Cameron Hassan, aged 31, of no fixed abode, attacked the woman, raping her as she slept on 21 August 2021.

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Hassan had been on trial at Swansea Crown Court after denying any wrongdoing. However, after the jury was shown the video of the attack and hearing the victim was going to give evidence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May), Hassan changed his plea to guilty.

Investigating Officer DC Sophie Lambert from Dyfed Powys Police said the victim had shown great strength and determination throughout the investigation.

“I must commend her tremendous courage in coming forward and the tenacity shown throughout the investigation,” she said.

“We hope this case demonstrates that Dyfed-Powys Police acts on serious allegations such as rape and sexual assault with officers working tirelessly to secure justice for victims.

“If you are suffering because of similar abuse, please contact the police, or if you would rather speak to someone in confidence, New Pathways are an independent charity that will support you through every step of the investigation.”

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New Pathways can be contacted at 01685 379 310 or email enquiries@newpathways.org.uk

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Carmarthenshire

Women’s Tour of Britain returns to Carmarthenshire

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The countdown is on before the world’s top women riders will race through Carmarthenshire as part of the Women’s Tour of Britain.

Some 108 cyclists will race through the County to the finishing line on top of the Black Mountain between Llangadog and Brynamman as part of the stage five event on Friday, June 10.

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The route will be starting from Pembrey Country Park at 10.45am and riders competing for the title will go through Pinged, Carway, Pontyberem, Horeb, Llansawel, and Llangadog.

A rolling road closure will take place along the 65-mile route which will come into action at 10.45am until 1.50pm.

Roads will be re-opened once the cyclists have passed through. A full road closure will be in place over the Black Mountain from 5am-5pm.

The event will be broadcast on ITV4 and across Europe with a helicopter camera crew following the race.

The Women’s Tour departs on Monday, June 6, and coincides with the final day of a four-day Bank Holiday weekend in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The race will culminate with a prestigious finale six days later on Saturday, June 11.

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Pembrey Country Park previously hosted the Grand Départ of the men’s Tour of Britain as well as the overall finish of the Women’s Tour in 2019.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters said: “We are thrilled that we have again been chosen to host this top cycling event. Previous years have brought an immediate economic boost to the tourism sector as well as providing a great deal of positive media coverage.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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