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Schools to remain open for now as Wales moves to ‘delay’ phase

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SCHOOLS will remain open as Wales moves into the “delay” phase in containing the coronavirus, the Welsh Government has announced.

The advice will change from Friday (Mar 13), with people who become unwell being asked to self-isolate for seven days.

Chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton said the trajectory of the virus was now “quite clear” and the challenge remained preparing for a significant number of cases in Wales.

Dr Atherton said: “Wales was now really in the delay phase of the virus and it would lead to some inconvenience for people not going to work or school.

“We need to reduce the demand on the health and social care system so it can prepare for peak which may be May or June.”

SCHOOLS OPEN FOR NOW

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said closing schools was not an appropriate option for now.

He told a press conference at 3.30pm Thursday (Mar 12): “Ministers have had clear advice that closing schools now is not an appropriate step to take. For now, the advice and guidance is very clear. Schools should stay open.

“To be effective measure schools would have to be closed for a significant amount of time.

“If we close schools, what impact does that have on parents? Parents could be nurses, doctors or the police. We need to keep key workers in work.

“Another point is, if parents can’t look after them then it’s likely that older members of the family or grandparents will be. Older people are the people we want to protect now and in the future.

“Furthermore, in the Easter break, lots of children will be with each other anyway. The value in closing schools is low.

“Ministers are making choices guided by the best possible evidence and scientific advice.

“Members of governments around the UK need to take a responsible approach and take steps where there is no medical advice to do so within the four nations of the UK.”

LATEST FIGURES

Six new cases of coronavirus have been identified in Wales, bringing the total to 25 at the time of going to press. (7pm, March 12)

785 people in Wales have been tested for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). 760 results were negative, and 25 results were positive.

ROBUST MEASURES IN PLACE

Dr Robin Howe, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales told The Herald that he was certain that “robust infection control measures in place.”

“The public can be assured that Wales and the whole of the UK is prepared for these types of incidents. Working with our partners in Wales and the UK, we have implemented our planned response, with robust infection control measures in place to protect the health of the public.

“We would encourage people to check the advice for returning travellers, which includes guidance for those returning from Italy, China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Iran.

“Members of the public can help protect themselves and others by always carrying tissues, and using them to catch coughs or sneezes. They should bin the tissue, and to kill the germs, wash their hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel. This is the best way to slow the spread of most germs, including Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Public Health Wales’ trained scientists are now conducting the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic test in Wales. Over 90 per cent of the individuals who have been tested in Wales have been offered testing in their own home, making it as convenient as possible for them, as well as protecting our ambulance and hospital resources for those who need it most. We are not able to comment on individual cases for reasons of patient confidentiality.”

Official updates on the virus in Wales will now be given at 11:00 daily.

There are now 596 confirmed cases in the UK, up from 456 on Wednesday, and two more deaths, of people with underlying health conditions in London and Essex, taking the total to 10.

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We are recruiting – staff needed

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The council is urgently seeking more staff as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

We are looking to recruit people into a number of jobs throughout Carmarthenshire to help keep frontline services running, but particularly need carers, cleaners and catering staff.

No previous experience is needed, as full training will be provided.

The council offers good rates of pay and flexible hours. Full and part-time, permanent and temporary contracts are available.

The council also has vacancies for social workers so if you have the relevant qualifications and experience please get in touch.

Deputy Leader Cllr Mair Stephens, executive board member for recruitment and training, said: “It is vital that we keep our essential frontline services running during this crisis; and as a result, we have some vacancies that we need to fill immediately.

“We may also start to see staff shortages in some areas in the coming weeks, so we need to be prepared to fill these.

“We are urging people who are in a position to apply for these jobs to please contact us, your community needs you. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience in these areas as full training will be given.

“As well as recruiting new staff, we are also redeploying staff where possible from non-critical services to other roles as and when needed.

“I want to reassure residents we are doing all we can to protect frontline services during this extremely difficult and uncertain time.”

We want to make the application process as easy as possible, so only the mandatory fields on the application form will need to be completed along with a brief statement. Applicants will be contacted by telephone following their application.

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Over 100 iPads handed out to council care homes

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More than 100 iPads are being handed out to council care homes in Carmarthenshire so that residents can communicate face to face with their loved ones.

It comes after visiting restrictions were placed on residential homes across the UK in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The 110 tablets will be distributed across the seven homes, which accommodate 248 beds, and will ensure residents maintain contact via video calling their families and relatives whilst they are staying indoors to protect from the risk of contracting coronavirus.

Staff have been working closely with families to ensure they keep contact with their loved ones in this evolving situation.

Executive board member for social care, Cllr Jane Tremlett said: “We are pleased we have been able to provide all our care homes with iPads which will help residents to keep in touch with their family members during these unprecedented and challenging times. Understandably these necessary restrictions placed on our care homes will cause distress to both the relative and resident so the use of this technology will hopefully help to close that gap. Already we have seen some positive results and residents have been overjoyed to see their family faces.”

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Abergwili: Police investigate death of couple in property on High Street

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the sudden death of a man and a woman who died in a property at High Street, Abergwili, Carmarthen.

A spokesman said: “Police were called to the address shortly after 6pm on Thursday, 26 March 2020. Officers are currently investigating the circumstances of the deaths, which are being treated as unexplained.

“They are not being linked to COVID-19 at this time.

“Next of kin and HM Coroner are aware.”

The family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of John David Bound and Gwendoline Christine Bound.

“The family wish for their privacy to be respected in their time of grief.”

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