Swansea Council’s contact tracing and IT teams are making it possible for Welsh people who have an essential reason to travel internationally to get vaccination certificates in time for their trip.
The teams have worked in close partnership with Welsh Government and Digital Health and Care Wales, setting-up the service from scratch in just over a week and already over 5,000 certificates have been issued to travellers who have needed to travel.
Thanks to the new service people have been able to travel for medical and compassionate reasons or, when travel’s been necessary, to countries where it’s mandatory to have proof of vaccination.
The service is being provided by a team of 40 Swansea council staff, most of them working from home, and so far more than 90% of applicants have been able to get their vaccination certificates.
Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: “We’ve been working for the people of Swansea throughout the pandemic, providing critical services at vital times to tens of thousands of people in our communities.
“Now our expertise in hosting one of the largest contact tracing service in Wales is being used to support people from across Wales needing to make an essential trip abroad but had to have a vaccination certificate to do so.
“We’re very pleased to be supporting the Welsh Government and travellers up and down the country so they can safely get to their destinations.
“The fact we were able to set up the service within eight days of being asked to do so is a testimony to the expertise, flexibility and dedication of our local authority staff.”
Swansea Council runs one of the largest Test Trace Protect (TTP) service in Wales, covering the whole of the Swansea Bay health board region.
Officers were confident that with the skills and expertise of council staff that it could take on the additional work on top of its essential role in tracing close contacts of people who have tested positive for the virus.
Since going live on 24 May, Swansea’s bilingual team has been providing a vaccination certification service for the whole of Wales.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “This is a great example of a council creating a service from scratch in an extremely short space of time. I also want to thank Digital Health and Care Wales and everyone involved for their efforts.”
Swansea Council’s TTP Manager, Hywel Lewis said: “It’s a credit to the staff from across the council who have come together to help make the launch of this service a success. To go from a standing start to a fully operational all-Wales service in such a short time is a testament to their flexibility and dedication.”
People living in Wales can request a certificate only if:
- They have had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (they should wait five days after their second dose before requesting it)
- They urgently need to travel to a country which requires vaccine certification
- They are not able to either quarantine or provide tests to meet country entry requirements.
Mandatory quarantine is in place for all people returning to the UK from countries on the amber and red lists. All people returning from overseas travel must have a PCR test. People traveling overseas must also follow the rules of the countries they plan to visit.
People can call 0300 303 5667 to request a vaccination certificate for urgent international travel only.
Swansea professor’s COVID contribution recognised with new honour
A Swansea academic at the forefront of shaping our understanding of Covid-19 has received further recognition for his work in the field of data science.
This latest honour follows on from Professor Lyons becoming a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and being appointed OBE in the New Year’s honours.
The focus of his work is the use of routinely collected data to better understand factors that influence health and wellbeing and developing and evaluating interventions aimed to improve the health of the public. He has led some of the largest studies ever undertaken in this field and contributed to research surrounding the pandemic and its consequences at Wales, UK and European level.
Professor Lyons said he was delighted to have been recommended for membership of the prestigious Academia Europaea, which aims to encourage the highest possible standards in scholarship, research and education, and promote a better public understanding of the benefits of learning.
He said: “This honour is a recognition of the shared efforts and hard work of the various teams and partners I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. None more so than over the last two years, during the pandemic.
“Through the European Population Health Information Research Infrastructure (PHIRI) Project we’re developing research infrastructure to generate the best Covid-19 population health knowledge. The multi-disciplinary, One Wales working group provided crucial evidence to Welsh Government’s response to Covid community transmission and informed policy development across the UK.
“The International Covid-19 Data Alliance (ICODA) partnership with Health Data Research UK and the Bills Gates Foundation and others, is supporting a globally coordinated approach to tackling Covid and future threats.
“This has been an incredibly challenging period for us all and I’m enormously proud that these labours have been acknowledged and rewarded by this election.”
Professor Lyons now joins more than 5,000 other eminent, individual scientists and scholars, who cover a broad range of academic disciplines that include former Nobel Prize laureates, Turing Award recipients and Fields Medal winners.
(Lead image: Swansea University)
Health board lifts visiting restrictions at Glangwili and Withybush hospitals
Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed that restrictions for people visiting patients will be lifted in Glangwili and Withybush hospitals from Wednesday 20 July 2022.
Visiting to Bronglais Hospital, Prince Philip Hospital and community hospitals remain open, by appointment only.
The health board are advised that it will still be a requirement to wear masks in Glangwili, Prince Philip and Withybush hospitals.
Mandy Rayani, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, said: “Last week we had to make the decision to extend measures at Glangwili Hospital in addition to Withybush Hospital to reduce the risk to our patients and staff and we thank people for their support and co-operation.
“We can all continue to take protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to protect vulnerable people and the NHS.
“We strongly advise anyone in our locality who has the classic symptoms, or who suspects they may have COVID-19 to isolate and take an LFD test. If positive, we urge people to isolate – this will help you to rest and recover while protecting others from risk of transmission.”
(Lead image: Google Maps)
Mask wearing reinstated at Llanelli’s Prince Philip Hospital
Hywel Dda University Health Board have said that all staff and visitors to Prince Philip Hospital must wear face masks (unless exempt) with immediate effect following the latest review of prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.
This follows the decisions made last week to reinstate mask wearing at Glangwili Hospital and both mask wearing and visiting restrictions at Withybush Hospital.
The health board have said that visiting will continue in general at Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals following the latest review of case numbers but local ward restrictions are in place so please contact the ward to arrange your visit in advance
Mandy Rayani, Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Wearing a surgical mask or face covering and keeping a physical distance when attending a hospital or medical facility will help protect our most vulnerable patients and service users.
“We are grateful for the ongoing support and efforts of our communities to stop the spread, particularly around more vulnerable people.
“These measures will be continually reviewed, and as soon as it is safe to do so, we will ease these restrictions.”
The health board is stressing the continued importance of the behaviours known to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and the different requirements in place in health and social care settings.
Mandy, added: “Isolating if we have symptoms of COVID-19, or other infectious diseases, is one of the most important things we can do to prevent the onward spread and break the chain of transmission.
“We strongly encourage anyone in our locality who has the classic symptoms, or who suspects they may have COVID-19 to isolate and take an LFD test. If positive, we urge people to continue with the same isolation guidance that has been in place – this will help you to rest and recover and protect others from risk of transmission.”
Later this week, the Welsh Government will update its vaccine strategy with details of the next booster dose in the autumn.
The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Sir Frank Atherton said:
“The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. While the vaccine does not completely stop transmission it offers protection against serious illness and reduces the risk of hospitalisation.
“You can still get the vaccine if you haven’t had your full course, or you were too ill to get your spring booster and I would encourage parents to think about getting the vaccine for their children over the summer months to help minimise any disruption to their education during the autumn and winter terms.”
(Lead image: Hywel Dda NHS)
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