blank
Connect with us

Coronavirus

Welsh Government updates Coronavirus Control Plan

Published

on

The Welsh Government has updated its Coronavirus Control Plan, setting out how and when more people and businesses will be able to resume their activities in the safest possible way.

In December, the First Minister published the Coronavirus Control Plan: Alert Levels for Wales, which set out how the national measures would be introduced in a more predictable way based on a framework of four alert levels.

The plan has been updated to take account of Wales’ fast-moving vaccination programme and the emergence of the highly-infectious Kent variant of the virus, which is now dominant throughout Wales. It also reflects the risk of new, potentially vaccine-resistant variants of coronavirus being imported into Wales from people holidaying and travelling overseas.

The new plan will support the Welsh Government to continue to relax restrictions while the public health situation continues to remain positive – rates have fallen significantly across Wales thanks to all the hard work and sacrifices made by people during the winter months. It sets out a range of indicators the Welsh Government will analyse and assess, alongside professional expert advice and intelligence from local partners, to determine how restrictions are relaxed.

But if there are strong signs of a growth in infections, it also sets out how the relaxations may need to be slowed, paused or in the worst case, reversed.

Advertisement

Advertisement

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The coronavirus pandemic has turned all our lives upside down. Over the last 12 months, everyone in Wales has made sacrifices to help protect themselves and their families and help bring coronavirus under control.

“This is a cruel virus – far too many families have lost loved ones, and unfortunately, we know that many more people will fall seriously ill and sadly will die before the pandemic is over. But the way people and communities have pulled together across Wales, and followed the rules, has undoubtedly saved many more lives. 

“We are now entering a critical phase in the pandemic. We can see light at the end of the tunnel as we approach the end of a long and hard second wave, thanks to the amazing efforts of scientists and researchers across the world to develop effective vaccines. Our amazing vaccination programme has made vaccines available to people in the most at-risk groups at incredible speed.”

More than 1.2m people in Wales have said yes to vaccination and have received their first dose; more than 300,000 people have completed the two-dose course. The aim is to offer the first nine priority groups of adults vaccination by mid-April and all eligible adults a first dose by the end of July.

Early results about the effectiveness of the vaccines are promising in terms of their effect in both preventing severe disease and transmission. But, until the vaccination programme is more advanced, a large proportion of the population will remain vulnerable to infection.

Advertisement

The uncertainty and unpredictability of the Kent variant means that Ministers are adopting a more cautious approach to coming out of lockdown.

Advertisement

The updated Coronavirus Control Plan sets out the following phased steps for moving from alert level four into alert level three:

From Monday 22 March:

  • First phased opening of non-essential retail – restrictions on the sale of items will be lifted for shops, which are currently open;
  • Garden centres re-open.

From Saturday 27 March:

Next week, Ministers will confirm if the conditions allow for the following relaxations to come into force:

Advertisement
  • Stay local requirement lifted, moving Wales into alert level three;
  • First phased opening of the tourism sector as self-contained accommodation opens;
  • Organised outdoor children’s activities resume;
  • Limited opening of outdoor areas of some historic places and gardens;
  • Libraries re-open.

From 12 April (if conditions allow):

  • Full return to schools, colleges and other education;
  • All shops to open;
  • Close contact services to open.

22 April review cycle

The following areas will be considered as part of the 22 April review, if the public health situation continues to remain positive and vaccination rates continue to increase: 

  • Gyms, leisure and fitness facilities;
  • Outdoor attractions;
  • Outdoor hospitality;
  • Weddings;
  • Community centres;
  • Organised activities (30 outdoors, 15 indoors);
  • Extended households.
Advertisement

First Minister Mark Drakeford added: “Just as we are rolling out vaccination, we are facing a very different virus in Wales today. The highly-infectious Kent variant is now dominant in all parts of Wales.

“This means the protective behaviours we have all learned to adopt are even more important than ever – getting tested and isolating when we have symptoms; keeping our distance from others; not mixing indoors; avoiding crowds; washing our hands regularly and wearing face coverings.

“The pandemic is not over – spring and summer give us hope of more freedom, as rates of infection fall and more people are vaccinated.

“But we must be careful – we can’t rush the process of relaxing restrictions and risk a resurgence of the virus.”

Advertisement

Advertisement
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Coronavirus

Face coverings retained in health and social care settings

Published

on

By

First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed the legal requirement to wear a face covering in health and care settings will remain in place.

Speaking after the latest three-week review of the coronavirus regulations, the First Minister said the public health situation was improving following the recent spike in cases caused by the BA.2 sub-type of omicron.

Advertisement

But Covid case rates remain high so maintaining the use of face coverings in health and care settings will help to protect to some of the most vulnerable people in society, staff and visitors.

The First Minister also urged everyone to continue to take measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus by following a set of simple steps to protect one another and keep Wales safe.

These include self-isolating if ill or testing positive for Covid-19; wearing a face covering in crowded indoor places, meeting outdoors wherever possible; keeping indoor areas well ventilated and washing hands regularly.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The pandemic isn’t over but we are seeing encouraging signs the recent high levels of infections across Wales are falling.

“There are steps we can all take to protect ourselves while coronavirus is still circulating and reduce the spread of the virus even further. This is particularly true in places where some of the most vulnerable people in society are being treated and live, which is why we will retain the legal requirement to wear face coverings in health and social care settings.

Advertisement

“More generally, ensuring you are up-to-date with your Covid vaccinations and spring booster – if you are eligible – is really important. If you have Covid symptoms or test positive, please stay at home and help break the chain of transmission.

“Together, we can carry on keeping each other safe and keeping Wales safe.”

The next three-weekly review of coronavirus regulations will be carried out by 26 May.

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

Schools’ Covid guidance aligned to businesses and other workplaces

Published

on

By

The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, has announced that Covid-19 measures for schools in Wales will be brought into line with guidance for businesses and other organisations.

The Welsh Government has written to schools in Wales this morning to inform them of the changes.

Advertisement

Since September last year, schools have applied measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus according to local circumstances, based on the Local Covid-19 infection control decision framework for schools. Schools will no longer be advised to use the framework.

The change is in line with the Welsh Government’s long-term Covid-19 transition from pandemic to endemic. The risk from coronavirus is now considered in the same context as other communicable diseases, such as flu.

The First Minister has announced that the remaining coronavirus restrictions will be removed from 9 May, if the public health situation remained stable. The changes to the guidance for schools will also come into effect from 9 May.

Schools and other education settings will continue to be advised to work with local authorities and public health advisors to ensure that measures remain appropriate and proportionate and reflect local risks and circumstances.

A checklist will be provided to support schools and settings in considering which control measures remain proportionate. Special schools will continue to follow the advice for children and young people with higher clinical risk and clinically extremely vulnerable adults.

Advertisement

Speaking at the Welsh Government’s weekly press briefing, Jeremy Miles said: “In line with the wider public health guidance published at the last three-week review, we have today written to headteachers to signpost the impending changes to our advice for schools, which reflect the move from pandemic to endemic. This will ensure school guidance is more closely aligned with the rest of society.

“We all know that Covid-19 has not gone way. It remains vitally important we reduce the spread of the virus where we can – this includes, for example, following self-isolation guidance, and for education settings to continue to undertake robust risk assessments.”

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

Health board extends shuttle bus between Llanelli and COVID vaccination centre

Published

on

By

Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDUHB) has extended the free shuttle bus service between Llanelli town centre and the mass vaccination centre in Dafen to help people access their COVID-19 vaccination as easily as possible.

The shuttle bus, provided by Dolen Teifi, will continue to run between 10.30am to 4.40pm, seven days a week – with no service at 12.00pm from town or at 12.15pm from the mass vaccination centre to allow the drivers a lunch break.

Advertisement

People can board the shuttle bus on the hour and at half-past the hour at Church Street, outside Llanelli Magistrates Court.

The shuttle bus will leave the mass vaccination centre quarter past and quarter to the hour, returning to the town centre and dropping passengers off opposite Llanelli library.

Bethan Lewis, Interim Assistant Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “We need as many people as possible attending their COVID-19 vaccine appointments, or dropping in if eligible.

“This shuttle bus service is one of many additional resources and services being put in place across the Hywel Dda region to help support more people to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. I am pleased the shuttle bus service has been extended to help people reliant on public transport to access their COVID-19 vaccine.”

On 21 February 2022, the JCVI published a statement, recommending an additional spring booster.

Advertisement

Strict COVID-19 safety measures are in place to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers on this service, including wearing face coverings unless medically exempt.

A maximum of 14 passengers are allowed per journey with a screen in place between driver and passengers.

The health board say that passengers should only use this service if they are fit and well on the day.

They add that before travelling without an appointment to Dafen mass vaccination centre, people should check the health board’s website for up-to-date information such as vaccine eligibility and drop-in opening times.

(Lead image: Hywel Dda NHS)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Swansea Bay News