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Valero oil refinery worker tests positive for coronavirus

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EMPLOYEES at Valero Oil Refinery have been sent emails confirming a member of staff has tested positive for coronavirus.

It is understood that the worker, who we are not naming, was send off site on Friday (Mar 20) and has tested positive for Covid-19.

This would make this the third confirmed case of coronavirus in Pembrokeshire.

The remaining refinery workers have been put on shift work of four days on and four days off – a change implemented in recent days to segregate the workforce into two separate groups. Valero employs 1200 workers and contractors at the Pembroke site.

A contractor, who asked not to be named, told The Herald that he was extremely concerned that non-essential work was going on at the oil refinery.

He said: “Yesterday, there was white line painting, grass cutting, non-essential electrical work being carried out – in my mind this is just crazy – essential workers could be kept on site and other things can wait.

He added “The number of people on site could be substantially reduced and we could still run a safe site. We have been told that areas where the person who has the virus has been have been deep cleaned – but morale is still low. A lot of people are not happy with the way the outbreak is being handled.

“There are many communal areas, and we all have to push through the same turnstile to get to work. I am very worried, and so are a lot of the other workers on site.”

Refinery spokesperson Stephen Thornton said: “Valero strongly believes in maintaining the privacy of our employees and contractors, particularly their health information.
“As such, we will not publicise individual cases of COVID-19.
“Our pandemic response in the case of a positive test, however, include compliance and cooperation with Government and medical guidelines, social distancing, deep cleaning or sterilization of affected areas, communicating with employees’ in “close contact” with the affected employees followed by implementation of appropriate quarantines, communication with our employees at the site, and, most importantly support of all affected employees.
“All facilities on the Milford Haven Waterway are taking similar precautions.
“Valero holds the health and safety of its employees and the wider community as its highest priority.”

This was similar to the statement issued by Valero spokeswoman Lillian Riojas last week. An employee at Valero Energy Corp’s Meraux, Louisiana, refinery tested positive for the coronavirus on March 19.

Refinery operations, for the time being, remain largely unaffected although many in the industry see run cuts and even closures on the horizon.
“Sooner or later they should shut down,” a products trader said in an interview with industry website S&P Global.
Analysts agreed that refineries will need to curtail their throughput as demand slows.
“Run cuts are expected in Europe due to the demand effect from the coronavirus outbreak,” S&P Global Platts Analytics said in a note. However, “refiners have not explicitly announced the degree of these cuts”.
The reason refiners are putting off run cuts for the moment is because the recent sharp falls in crude prices has supported margins. But, as one crude trader said, “what margin exists does not matter if there is not a buyer for products”.
“Globally, we are looking at a pretty significant reduction in short-term oil demand, probably down 3-4 million b/d for several months,” according to Stephen George, chief economist of energy consultancy KBC, who also saw the potential for “a general trimming of runs across the board in Europe”.

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Pembrokeshire residents aged 75 to 79 years to receive their first COVID vaccine

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LETTERS will arrive in the coming days inviting Pembrokeshire residents aged 75 to 79 years to receive their first COVID vaccine at a mass vaccination centre, Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) has announced.

The letter will provide an appointment time at one of the following mass vaccination centres: Haverfordwest – Pembrokeshire Archives, Prendergast; and Tenby – Tenby Leisure Centre.

These mass vaccination centres will provide a safe environment, space to maintain social distancing while allowing more people to be vaccinated as efficiently and as quickly as possible.

It is vital that you make every effort to attend your appointment.

You will need to delay your vaccination if you have had a positive coronavirus test within 28 days of this appointment or if you are unwell with a fever, have a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell.

Please let us know if you cannot attend or need to delay your appointment as soon as possible by calling the number provided in your appointment letter. This will mean we can give your appointment to someone else and save NHS resources.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Until now we have been using our mass vaccination centres to vaccinate our front-line staff in health, social care and care homes. With over 85% of front-line health workers having had their first dose, and seeing rapid progress with care home staff and social care staff, we are now moving onto the next phase of our delivery plan.

“The opening of our mass vaccination centres to the public will allow us to offer more people a vaccine as soon as supplies are available to us. If you have received an invitation it is because you are in a priority group and at greater risk of complications if you catch COVID-19.

“Vaccines are safe, effective and save lives and the COVID vaccine offers our community hope. By receiving your vaccine, you will continue to play your small but incredibly important part in protecting yourself, the most vulnerable in our communities and our local NHS. Thank you.”

When you attend your appointment please bring with you:

Your appointment letter

Some ID such as your passport, driving license or utility bill in your name
A face mask (if you don’t have one, you will be given one)
People aged 80 years and over will continue to be invited by their GP practice to receive the vaccine, all of which have now received a supply of vaccines. The health board has also commissioned GP practices to vaccinate housebound patients and residents in our care homes.

Hywel Dda UHB is working to offer a vaccine to everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 by mid-February. People over 70 years of age and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable as part of priority group 4 will be invited next to receive a vaccine. The health board will provide further information at the earliest opportunity.

Please do not attend any vaccination venue without an appointment and do not contact your GP, pharmacy or health board to ask when you will be invited. People are being invited to receive the vaccine in order of priority and we thank you for your patience.

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A4076 reopens following accident where everyone ‘miraculously walked away’

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THERE was a road traffic accident in icy and snowy conditions on the A4076 Dredgemans Hill on Sunday afternoon.

Emergency services were called to the scene at around 1.30pm to an accident involving a number of vehicles.

A number of readers sent photos in to the Herald.

The road re-opened at 3pm after a brief closure.

A witness said: “It was a miracle but we have all walked away from this.”

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Welsh Conservatives appoint new Senedd Leader

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IT HAS been announced that Andrew RT Davies MS has been appointed as the new Leader of the Welsh Conservative Group in the Welsh Parliament.

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “Becoming leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd once again is a great honour and privilege, and I’m pleased to enjoy the unanimous support of my colleagues to take us forward after a difficult few days for us all.

“On behalf of the Group I want to pay tribute to Paul Davies for his service as leader. Paul is not only a colleague but a trusted friend, who has served his constituents and party with distinction, and will continue to do so.

“There is urgent work in front of all of us and our immediate focus will be continuing to hold the Labour administration in the Senedd to account on vital issues such as the vaccine rollout, and fighting May’s election alongside our excellent slate of candidates and dedicated volunteers.

“We are in a moment like no other, and the COVID-19 pandemic has sadly only served to shine a spotlight on the challenges in people’s everyday lives; challenges that have been made all the harder by twenty of Welsh Labour Government failure.

“From our fragile economy to ever increasing NHS waiting lists, people in Wales have been badly let down by successive Labour administrations. Let me be clear; devolution isn’t the issue, it is the socialists in the Labour Party, and Wales deserves better.

“In just over 100 days, the Welsh public will head to the ballot box to decide on the future they want for our country and in the coming weeks and months the Welsh Conservatives will put forward a positive plan to get Wales moving again and build back our country better than ever.

“This will be in tough election during a tough time for our country and whereas other parties want to use this period to divide and separate, we’ll seek to unite our country and deliver a strong voice for Wales, in a strong United Kingdom.”

Chairman of the Welsh Conservative Group in the Senedd, Janet Finch-Saunders MS said: “Following a meeting of the Welsh Conservative Group in the Senedd this morning, I’m pleased to confirm that Andrew RT Davies has been endorsed unanimously as our new leader in the Senedd.

“As Chairman of the Group, I want to say thank you to Paul Davies for his immense efforts in the post since 2018. Paul played a key role in our record-breaking General Election in 2019, whilst setting the groundwork ahead of May’s Senedd election.

“Our attention now turns to May and taking the fight to the Labour Party.”

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