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Coronavirus

Ospreys urge Swansea Bay men to ‘roll up your sleeves’ for vaccine campaign

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Rugby giants the Ospreys have backed a Swansea Bay campaign to get as many men as possible aged under 40 vaccinated in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

Seven out of 10 men in this age group have already had at least a first dose of Covid-19 vaccination. Now the others are being urged to ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ and join them.

Players from the team took time out from their training schedule this week to roll up their own sleeves as a show of support for the campaign and urged men who have yet to have their vaccination to take action now.

Welsh International, Owen Watkin

Welsh international, Owen Watkin, said: “We’re all backing the ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ campaign and we urge men who haven’t yet had their first vaccine to get it done as soon as possible. We all want to get back to the things we love in safety and with confidence – this includes our favourite sporting events.

“The ongoing pandemic is affecting every part of our lives, including our ability to stay fit, to make plans for the future and to spend time freely with our mates. The vaccine is the best way out of it so let’s roll up our sleeves now and get this done!”

Dr Keith Reid, Swansea Bay University Health Board Director of Public Health said: “The Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign is an important reminder to anyone who has not yet had a vaccine, and especially men in the 18 to 40 age bracket, that it is essential for them to do so.  I don’t care why you haven’t had the vaccine yet and neither do my colleagues, but we do care that you get it now.  You just need to attend a drop-in session or the Immbulance, our mobile vaccination unit.

“The vaccine has been through the same safety checks as all other vaccines, is approved by the MHRA and has now been administered safely to tens of millions of people in the UK and even more around the world. Even if you’re young and healthy, you can still get seriously ill with the virus.  By getting yourself vaccinated, you provide protection for yourself and others around you.

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“You can’t get Covid-19 from the vaccine but it works best if you have two doses – preventing hospitalisation and death in more than 90 percent of people. Also, the vaccination is recommended as protection against long COVID side effects which can include erectile dysfunction in men.

“We know everyone is keen to return to some sort of normality as soon as is safely possible and widespread double-dose vaccination is the fastest way of allowing us all to do this.”

Please go here for details of the latest drop-in vaccination sessions: https://sbuhb.nhs.wales/go/pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-drop-in-sessions-for-adults-age-16/ 

Or search @SwanseaBayNHS on Facebook and @SwanseaBayUHB on Instagram for more details on drop-in sessions and the Immbulance (mobile vaccination unit) tour.

Alternatively, people can:

Lead image: Welsh International Justin Tipuric supporting the ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ campaign

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Coronavirus

Self-isolation period reduced in Wales

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woman in white hijab covering her face with white blanket

People who test positive for Covid-19 will be able to leave self-isolation after five full days if they have two negative lateral flow tests, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has confirmed.

The two consecutive negative lateral flow tests must be taken on days five and six of the isolation period.

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The changes are being made after a thorough examination of the evidence from Public Health Wales and bring Wales into line with changes made elsewhere in the UK.

They will come into effect from 28 January, at the same time as Wales is expected to complete the move to alert level zero.

A shorter self-isolation period will support public services and businesses by reducing pressures on the workforce through Covid-related staff absences.

Financial support through the Self-Isolation Support Scheme which will return to the original payment rate of £500 in recognition of the shorter isolation period.  People who need support with essentials such as shopping and pharmacy goods will be able to access help through their local authority and voluntary organisations. 

Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said: “Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways of preventing the onward spread of this virus and disrupting its transmission. But self-isolating for long periods can have a negative impact on our mental health and can be damaging for our public services and the wider economy.

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“After carefully reviewing all the available evidence, we believe that testing on days five and six together with five full days of isolation will have the same protective effect as a 10-day isolation period.

“But it is really important everyone self-isolates and uses lateral flow tests in the way advised to ensure they protect others from the risk of infection.

“The response from the public has been outstanding in Wales throughout the pandemic and we want to thank everyone for working with us to keep Wales safe.

“The booster jab has lessened the likelihood of severe cases of the virus and hospitalisation so I encourage anyone who is yet to have their vaccine to take up the offer.”

If a person is currently self-isolating as a positive case, or tests positive for Covid-19, they must self-isolate for five full days and should take a lateral flow test on day five and another test 24 hours later on day six.

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If both results are negative, it is likely they are not infectious and can stop isolating.

But anyone who tests positive on either day five or day six must continue to self-isolate until they have two negative tests taken 24 hours apart or until day 10, whichever comes first.

This change reflects the latest evidence from Public Health Wales. Guidance on self-isolation for those working in more sensitive areas such as health and care will issue shortly. 

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Coronavirus

First Minister says phased easing of Covid restrictions in Wales to continue

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Wales will complete the move to alert level zero on 28 January, First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed today, unless the public health situation changes for the worse.

He said the phased plan to gradually relax the alert level two measures and move back to alert level zero will continue.

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The latest public health data suggests Wales has passed the peak of the omicron wave and coronavirus cases are falling back to levels similar to those seen earlier in the autumn. There have also been reductions in the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital.

From Friday 21 January, Wales will move to alert level zero for all outdoor activities.

This means:

  • Crowds will be able to return to outdoor sporting events.
  • There will be no limits on the number of people who can take part in outdoor activities and events.
  • Outdoor hospitality will be able to operate without the additional measures required introduced in December, such as the rule of six and 2m social distancing
  • The Covid Pass will continue to be required for entry to larger outdoor events attended by more than 4,000 people, if unseated, or 10,000 people when seated.
  • The Covid Pass is required in all cinemas, theatres and concert halls which are currently open.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The latest figures show we have passed the omicron peak and we can continue to lift the alert level two protections as part of our careful and phased plan.

“We will lift the limits on the number of people who can gather for outdoor events. We remain cautiously confident the public health situation is heading in the right direction and next week we will be able to complete the move to alert level zero, unless the situation changes for the worse.

“We are in this position thanks to the efforts of everyone in Wales and our fantastic vaccination programme. It is important that everyone continues to follow the rules and the guidance to help keep themselves and their loved ones safe, including taking up the offer of a booster vaccine if they haven’t already done so.”

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On Friday 28 January, Wales will complete the move to alert level zero.

This means:

  • Nightclubs will re-open.
  • Businesses, employers and other organisations must continue to undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus.
  • The general requirement of 2m social distancing in all premises open to the public and workplaces will be removed.
  • The rule of six will no longer apply to gatherings in regulated premises, such as hospitality, cinemas and theatres.
  • Licensed premises will no longer need to only provide table service and collect contact details.
  • Working from home will remain part of advice from the Welsh Government but it will no longer be a legal requirement.

The Covid Pass will continue to be required to enter larger indoor events, nightclubs, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.

The self-isolation rules for everyone who tests positive for Covid and the face-covering rules, which apply in most public indoor places will remain in force after 28 January.

The next three-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations will be carried out by 10 February, when the Welsh Government will review all the measures at alert level zero.

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Coronavirus

First Minister announces plan to ease alert level two protections

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A plan to return Wales to alert level zero measures will today be set out by First Minister Mark Drakeford.

The move comes as the latest public health data suggests cases of coronavirus have started to fall back from their very high levels. More than two-thirds of people aged 12 and over have received a booster or third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

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The full move to alert level zero will be dependent on the public health situation continuing to improve.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I want to thank everyone for following the rules we have had in place since Boxing Day to help keep Wales safe while the fast-moving omicron variant has surged through our communities.

“I also want to thank everyone involved in our vaccination programme for the enormous efforts to give almost a third of the population a booster since the start of December – this has been vital in increasing our protection against omicron.

“The actions we have taken together have helped us to weather the omicron storm. The latest data suggests some positive signs that the peak may have passed.

“We can now look more confidently to the future and plan to start gradually removing the alert level two restrictions, starting with the outdoors measures.

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“But the pandemic is not over. We will closely monitor the public health situation – this is a fast-moving and volatile variant, which could change suddenly. I urge everyone to continue to follow the rules and have your vaccines to keep Wales safe.”

If conditions allow, the alert level two restrictions will be removed in a phased approach.

From tomorrow, the number of people who can be present at outdoor events will rise from 50 to 500.

From Friday 21 January Wales would move to alert level zero for all outdoor activities. This means there will be no limits on the number of people who can take part in outdoor activities.

  • Crowds will be able to return to outdoor sporting events
  • Outdoor hospitality would be able to operate without additional reasonable measures.
  • The Covid Pass will be required for entry to larger outdoor events.

If the downward trend continues, from Friday 28 January Wales would move to alert level zero for all indoor activities.

  • Nightclubs will be able to re-open.
  • Working from home would remain important but it would no longer be a legal requirement.
  • Businesses, employers and other organisations must undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the spread of coronavirus.
  • The Covid Pass will be required for entry to nightclubs, events, cinemas, concert halls and theatres.
  • The rule of 6, table service and 2m physical distancing no longer required in hospitality.

The self-isolation rules for all those who test positive for Covid and the face covering rules for most public indoor places will remain in force after 28 January.

The three-weekly cycle would be re-introduced from 10 February, when the Welsh Government will review all remaining measures at alert level zero.

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