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Local lockdown restrictions imposed to control Caerphilly outbreak

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CORONAVIRUS laws will be tightened across Caerphilly borough to prevent a local outbreak of the virus spreading, Health Minister Vaughan Gething said last night (Monday, Sept 7)

A range of new measures will come into force on Tuesday at 6pm in a bid to reduce the number of new coronavirus infections.

People will not be allowed to enter or leave the Caerphilly County Borough Council area without a reasonable excuse;
Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in shops;
People will only be able to meet outdoors – meetings with other people indoors and extended households will not be allowed for the time being. No overnight stays will be allowed.

The new restrictions will apply to everyone living within the Caerphilly County Borough Council area.

They are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in coronavirus, which have been linked to clusters of people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines in the borough and summer holidays overseas.

They will be kept under regular review but if cases do not fall, the Welsh Government, working with Caerphilly Council and Public Health Wales, will consider further measures.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “We have seen a significant rise in cases in Caerphilly borough over a very short space of time, which are linked to holiday travel abroad and people socialising indoors and not following social distancing guidelines.

“A lot of these cases are in younger people and thankfully, at the moment, most of these are mild. But coronavirus is now circulating in the community and it’s only a matter of time before we start to see more serious cases, which need hospital treatment.

“We need the help of everyone in Caerphilly borough to prevent the increasing and onward spread of coronavirus. We can only bring this local outbreak under control if everyone pulls together and follows these new steps.

“If we do not see cases falling, we may need to take further steps to bring this local outbreak under control.”

In the last seven days there have been 133 new cases confirmed, equivalent to a rate of 55.4 cases per 100,000 population – the highest rate in Wales and one of the highest in the UK. It is expected case numbers will continue to rise.

Community testing was introduced in Caerphilly at the weekend. On Saturday, some 450 people were tested and 19 were positive – a positivity rate of 4% – indicating the virus is circulating in the community. A similar number of people were tested on Sunday and the results are expected shortly.

All the new restrictions will come into force at 6pm on Tuesday.

The travel restrictions will mean people cannot enter or leave Caerphilly County Borough Council area without a reasonable excuse – this includes work, if they are unable to work from home, or making a compassionate visit to a loved one or to give care.

People will only be able to meet others outdoors for the time being as indoor meetings and gatherings will be restricted. However, care visits will be able to go ahead.

Caerphilly Council has already introduced some measures in response to the increase in cases – it has temporarily suspended visiting to care homes in the borough and is introducing weekly testing for care home staff.

Councillor Philippa Marsden, leader of Caerphilly Council, said:

“We need to create a break in the cycle of infection we are seeing in Caerphilly borough at the moment and unfortunately that means introducing new, tougher restrictions.

“I would urge everyone living in the area to follow these new measures; to follow the social distancing guidelines and to wash their hands regularly. If we all work together, we can bring this outbreak under control and reduce cases of the virus.”

The new measures will be kept under regular review and enforcement of the new restrictions will be undertaken by the local authority and by the police.

Community

Beach clean highlights tide of plastic pollution

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Preseli MP Stephen Crabb has praised the work of local volunteers after joining them for a beach clean in St Davids.

The clean at Porthlysgi Bay beach was organised jointly between environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy and EcoDewi as part of the Wales-wide Autumn Clean Cymru campaign, with over 15 volunteers litter picking while socially distancing.

EcoDewi is a new ecology and energy group on St David’s peninsula, working to increase the community’s capacity to produce its own, locally-owned sustainable energy.

Between Saturday’s beach clean and visitors piling litter in gateway, over 30 bags were collected. Rubbish included fishing wire, a steel toe cap shoe and plastic bottles, all of which will now be disposed of responsibly. While some litter is left behind on the beach by inconsiderate users, much of the rubbish now comes from the sea, as the tide washes in what has been thrown overboard by some sailing vessels.

Speaking following the clean, Stephen Crabb said: “Pembrokeshire’s beaches are some of the very best in the world, but litter remains a dangerous and unsightly problem. Beach cleans are a good way to protect and learn more about our natural environment and Saturday’s clean was a good example of many hands making light work.

“There have been positive steps by UK and Welsh Governments to reduce the volume of plastic pollution going into our waters, including a ban on microbeads, plastic straws and drink stirrers. But last weekend’s beach clean was a real eye opener and it is clear that more action is needed.

“My thanks to Keep Wales Tidy and EcoDewi for organising an excellent beach clean at one of Pembrokeshire’s hidden gem beaches. Anyone can volunteer for a beach clean and I look forward to taking part in another in the near future.”

Jeremy Wadia of EcoDewi said: “Community collaboration is key to fighting the current ecological and climate crisis, and it’s always great to see people coming together to clean our local beaches which benefits both our marine & land wildlife and of course residents and visitors. Seeing local and regional leaders out on the ground inspiring others to get involved is really important, so we are very grateful to Stephen for joining us at Porthlysgi.”

Mari Williams, Keep Wales Tidy Pembrokeshire officer said:

“It was a brilliant event and great to have so many people turn up to volunteer. We’re all responsible for the health of our oceans, that’s why clean-ups like this are so important and do make a real and lasting difference to our marine environment. Our campaign Autumn Clean Cymru was a chance for us to take a stand and declare that litter is not acceptable.”

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Man arrested at Penally Training Camp for arson and criminal damage

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A 29-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested on suspicion of arson and criminal damage at the Penally Training Camp.

Police and ambulances services attended the camp last night (Sept 30).

Police said that the man remains in police custody.

The Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called last night to reports of a patient needing medical attention at Penally Camp. We responded with one emergency ambulance and one person was transported to Withybush Hospital.”

It is unknown at this time is the man arrested was an asylum seeker or a local person.

He is the third person to be arrested in connection with the camp in recent days.

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Police probe into racist Facebook comments over Penally asylum seekers

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A NEIGHBOURING police force have confirmed that they are investigating grossly offensive comments on a Facebook group that suggest that asylum seekers staying at the MOD Training Camp in Penally should be gassed or shot.

Around 234 asylum seekers—Kurdish Iraqis and Kurdish Iranians—are set to be housed at the camp.

Many of the protesters are locals concerned about their communities after a lack of communication of the arrival of the asylum seekers by the home Office, but South Wales police believe that some of the protests outside the camp have been organised by far-right elements based in Swansea.

Two people have been arrested in connection with protests. One person released without charge, and another, – a well-known right leaning You Tube vlogger from outside the local area has been bailed on the condition he says out of the county.

Some of the shocking posts state: “Run the bastards over”… “Put a bullet in their heads if they can’t respect others” or “Tell your family to keep everything locked up, 250 new thieves, rapist and paedophiles are about to arrive in the area.”

Far-right activist Tommy Robinson has added his voice to the Penally Camp protest campaign. The founder of the English Defence League dubbed the prospect of the camp housing up to 250 asylum seekers as ‘sickening’, which has led to more interest in Penally online.
The Pembrokeshire Herald has engaged Facebook moderators after news articles, which now reach one million people online, were spammed with racist comments. 6,000 comments have already been checked, and hundreds deleted this newspaper can confirm.

A police spokesman said: “South Wales Police is looking into a number of inflammatory posts published on social media concerning the accommodation of asylum seekers at Penally in Pembrokeshire. Users of social media are requested to be mindful of the language used when publishing posts.”

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