WE must do more to stop the spread of this virus – that’s the message from public service leaders in Carmarthenshire as Covid-19 cases start to rise again.
Carmarthenshire County Council, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Dyfed-Powys Police are working closely with Public Health Wales and Welsh Government officials to respond to growing concerns about increased community spread of the virus.
They are urging people and businesses to take action now to avoid local restrictions being brought in that could affect people living in the county.
Numbers are now rising rapidly, in particular in the east of the county, with 86 new positive cases in Carmarthenshire over the last seven days.
Sadly, 136 people in the Hywel Dda health board area have died after testing positive for Covid-19 (as at September 4, 2020).
People are being asked to take the risk seriously and consider how their actions may impact on more vulnerable members of our communities.
Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “We were prepared for a possible second wave, but it’s come more quickly than we anticipated and the virus is spreading in our communities more than we expected. Now is the time we must all consider how our actions may impact on others. I know it feels unnatural to keep your distance from friends and neighbours, to not get together at the local pub, or to wear a mask to pop to the shops, but these actions are essential – these actions are what could prevent you unintentionally spreading Covid-19 to someone less likely than you to survive it.”
Steve Moore, Hywel Dda University Health Board Chief Executive, said: “The Carmarthenshire region has seen an increase in cases over the past few days, so we are asking the public to play their part and help reduce the spread of the virus by getting tested as soon as possible if you have symptoms.
“We have increased testing capacity for the area and urge only those with symptoms to book a test immediately. It’s also really important that you self-isolate at home in this instance and do not leave your house unless your isolation period has ended or you have a negative test result.
“Coronavirus remains a very serious illness, especially for the elderly and those with existing risk factors.
“We would urge the public to remain vigilant and follow the rules, including wearing face coverings that cover the mouth and nose, keeping two metres away from others outside of their household bubble, as well as washing hands regularly, or using a hand sanitizer if hand washing is not possible.”
Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, Mark Collins, added: “We appreciate that this has been a difficult time for everyone, as we have all had to make changes to our lives to ensure we help limit the spread of this virus. But it is very concerning that we are seeing increased community spread of the virus in Carmarthenshire, and now is the time for each and every one of us to step up and be more vigilant in complying with the current necessary restrictions and behaviours. Please remember that in addition to the Wales-wide restrictions, Welsh Government can impose local restrictions for specified areas where there has been an increase in the number of cases of the virus – so if we want to avoid these additional local restrictions, we must all act now and ensure that we support the current rules as far as possible.
“Our officers continue to be visible in our local communities, maintaining safe distances when we engage with residents, and will explain the circumstances and encourage people to do the right thing in complying with the restrictions. We know it’s tempting to gather with friends and family, but it’s vitally important that we stick to the rule of six indoors from an extended household only – including in pubs and restaurants, and outside only gatherings of up to 30 are permitted. Faced with non-compliance, and if considered necessary and proportionate to help stop the spread of the virus, we will take enforcement action against those flagrantly or persistently breaching the regulations. At the end of the day, the measures are there to protect people’s health, and help control and reduce the spread of the virus.”
The key message is simple:
Keep at least two metres distance from people not in your household
Wash your hands regularly
Wear a face covering in indoor public places, shops and on public transport
Do not meet with more than six people indoors from your extended household (not including children under 11)
Do not meet with more than 30 people outdoors
The main symptoms of Covid-19 are:
a high temperature: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
a new, continuous cough: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Anyone who develops any of these symptoms must follow self-isolation guidance and arrange a test as soon as possible, only leaving home to get tested.
Find more information, latest updates and advice at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales or call 01267 234567.
Killer Andrew Jones must spend at least 30 years in jail
A KILLER from Carmarthen will spend at least 30 years in jail.
Andrew Jones, 53, from Bronwydd Road, denied murdering his long-time friend Michael O’Leary but was convicted by a jury.
Mrs Justice Jefford set a minimum term of 30 years which he must serve before he can be considered for parole. She described the killing as ” a planned ambush”.
She told the killer: “Michael O’Leary did something wrong but he did not deserve to pay for that with his life. All accounts of him is of a man who lit up the room and played a central role in the lives of his family.
“Your family stands by you. You are more than fortunate in that. The impact of your actions in their lives has also been devastating. They feel ostracised from the community from where they live.
“Your wife still talks about you as the love of her life and your children talk about you in glowing terms.”
The judge made an order for the forfeiture and destruction of a rifle but not of the other guns in Jones’ possession.
She added: “This was a remarkable investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police.
“The officers and operatives involved are too numerous to mention but they are all to be commended for their efforts.”
Mr Jones’ barrister Karim Khalil QC is now addressing the court.
He said: “The defendant himself is not a highly educated man. He made the best of the talents he had.
“He worked all hours, not in any sense workshy. He built a family life which is now destroyed.
“He is remorseful for what happened. He is not cold-blooded.
“He acknowledges the pain he has caused.”
Two week national ‘Firebreak Lockdown’ announced for Wales from 6pm on Friday
MARK DRAKEFORD, The First Minister of Wales has announced a two week ‘fire break’ lockdown from Friday October 23 at 18:00 HRS, to last until Monday November 9 at 00:01 HRS
Mr Drakeford said: “This firebreak is the shortest we can make it. It must be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have on the virus.”
All non essential businesses, including tourism businesses will be told to close.
Businesses have been told that they will be given £1000 each automatically to help with the economic impact of the shutdown.
Mr Drakeford added that children will be the priority and that childcare facilities will open as normal. Primary schools will open after half term.
Secondary schools will be closed for a week after half term to help control the virus.
Universities will offer a mixture of face-to-face learning and learning via video link. Students must stay at their university accommodation during the lockdown.
Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement of a Wales-wide lockdown, Paul Davies MS, the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament, has called the lockdown “not-proportionate” and is calling on the Welsh Government to be “open and transparent” on the evidence to support a lockdown and if the First Minister is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns every month.
Paul Davies MS said: “Sadly, the First Minster has failed to get public support for this second Wales-wide lockdown, failing to be open and transparent about the evidence to justify this lockdown and what his actions will entail for the future.
“The Welsh Government also has to be honest that this road they are taking us down is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns. This is not a two-week break to solve the pandemic, it is likely that we will see regular lockdowns across the rest of the year. The Welsh Government must be clear what actions they are taking during the lockdown to prevent further Wales-wide lockdowns which will have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.
“However, the main concern is that this national lockdown is not proportionate. The impact on businesses in areas such as Powys, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, who have the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases in Wales, will be severe at a time when they are desperately struggling to recover from the pandemic so far this year.
“The First Minister needs to urgently come to the Welsh Parliament and answer these questions, to face effective scrutiny by elected representatives and not run his government by media.”
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP, Stephen Crabb told The Herald: “The evidence to support an all-Wales lockdown is weak and I am sceptical that this so-called ‘fire-break’ will tackle the situation in those parts of Wales where infection rates have been out of control. The key issue for Welsh Government to address is what will be done differently after the firebreak ends in those parts of Wales where infection rates have spiralled out of control. Otherwise the whole of Wales risks being dragged back into a series of rolling lockdowns.
“As we saw earlier in the year, lockdowns come with huge costs in terms of harm to the economy and to people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. With the Welsh Government asking UK Government to fund this lockdown, I hope that as many businesses as possible get support they need quickly. Pembrokeshire’s hospitality businesses will be hit particularly hard by these latest restrictions and I will be fighting hard again to see that they are protected as the lockdown kicks in.”
Concerning rise of Covid-19 cases in Carmarthenshire
THE HEALTH protection zone covering a large part of Llanelli is working well and helping bring down the number of positive Covid-19 cases, however concerns are increasing about the spread of Covid-19 elsewhere in Carmarthenshire.
Residents living in the zone are being thanked for their efforts and asked to keep up the good work for at least another week to help bring numbers down even further.
Carmarthenshire County Council, working with Hywel Dda University Health Board and Welsh Government, is keeping the situation under constant review.
Discussions are also taking place to prepare for a potential ‘circuit breaker’ – a measure being considered by Welsh Government to stop the rapid spread of the virus across Wales.
It would mean a return of stronger national restrictions for two-three weeks.
Welsh Government is due to announce its decision on Monday.
In Carmarthenshire, although cases remain concentrated in Llanelli (currently at 87.4 per 100,000 of the population*), small clusters of the virus are being identified across the county.
The rate of infection for Carmarthenshire, excluding the Llanelli health protection zone, is currently 64.8 per 100,000 of the population.
The rate for the whole county, including the Llanelli health protection zone, currently stands at 71.5 per 100,000 of the population.
All figures quoted are correct as at October 14, 2020 – the most recently available data.
Council Leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said: “We are so pleased to see the numbers continue to fall in the Llanelli area – this shows that the extra restrictions put in place are working,” he said.
“We are so very grateful to the people of Llanelli for listening, taking extra care and helping control the spread.
“However there is a note of caution for the rest of the county where we’re seeing figures starting to creep up.
“Largely, these appear to be in small clusters, and not as concentrated as in the Llanelli health protection zone, however it is a cause of concern. It shows that the virus is spreading.
“Contact tracing investigations tell us that many of these cases are linked back to people coming into close contact with eachother whilst socialising in licensed premises or at work, and then sharing the virus with people they live with.
“So we’re asking – please – keep your distance from people you don’t live with, practice good hygiene, wear a face covering, work from home if you can, and self-isolate if you’re asked to or if you have any Covid-19 symptoms.”
Carmarthenshire County Council continues to concentrate resources on supporting licensed premises to provide a safe environment for customers.
Since September 25, when the extra restrictions for Llanelli were announced, over 450 pro-active visits have been made to business premises offering advice and support.
Most are operating well, but there is still a small minority of licensed premises not putting safe systems into place – 12 of those have been served closure notices since September 25, most of them re-opening after making significant improvements.
Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda University Health Board Ros Jervis said: “This is a critical moment for the wider Carmarthenshire population. We can see cases rising and we need everyone to take action. Please do what you can to protect your health and that of your loved ones. Remember – hands, face and space. Wash hands regularly, use a face covering when social distancing isn’t possible and if you live outside of a health protection zone, where extra restrictions apply, then still place keep a two metre distance from people not in your household, whether you are inside or outside. Taking these measures is not only the best way to protect our health, but also the best way to protect the more vulnerable in our local communities.”
Deputy Chief Executive, Medical Director and respiratory consultant for Hywel Dda University Health Board Professor Philip Kloer added: “We are seeing a worrying rise in the number of cases of Covid-19 in Carmarthenshire. We are already providing care for Covid-19 patients in our hospitals and we expect these numbers to increase, right at the time of year when our hospitals are getting ready for the busy winter period. Please, in order to protect yourselves and the ability of the NHS to provide you and your families with the care you need, follow the guidelines. Our staff are working incredibly hard and following stringent infection prevention procedures. Please do not mistake this as a message to stay away from hospital or primary care services if you need them. We are here for you and we have made our hospitals and health care provision as safe as possible for you and our staff, using all the expert evidence about how this disease spreads and the infection prevention measures required.”
News6 days ago
13 people have been arrested in connection with the supply of Class A drugs
News6 days ago
Carmarthenshire is at risk – please stick to the rules
News2 weeks ago
Police appeal for help locating missing man
News3 days ago
Concerning rise of Covid-19 cases in Carmarthenshire
News2 weeks ago
Police and Crime Panel seeks views on CCTV investment
News6 days ago
Local magistrates issue thousands of pounds worth of fines for lockdown breaches
News2 weeks ago
Live fitness streaming classes launched
News4 days ago
Drakeford to make decision on ‘fire-break’ lockdown in Wales by Monday