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Llanelli restrictions ‘helping control’ high Covid-19 cases

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THE PEOPLE of Llanelli are helping to control the rate of Covid-19 infections in the area, but more needs to be done before restrictions can be lifted.

Positive cases in the ‘health protection zone’ are still three times higher than other parts of the county, but the actions of residents appear to be making a difference.

When the new local restrictions were brought in two weeks ago (Friday, September 25, 2020), the rate of infection within the designated ‘health protected zone’ was 152 per 100,000 of the population.

Although the case rate has gone up and down over the last fortnight, the most recent data shows the rate of infection is now 99.9 per 100,000 people*.

The rate for the rest of the county, excluding Llanelli’s health protection zone, stands at 33.9 per 100,000.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of the Council, said it shows that people are listening to the advice and helping protect each other.

Carmarthenshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board, working alongside Welsh Government and Public Health Wales, said that whilst the signs are encouraging, the restrictions for the Llanelli area need to remain in place for at least another week to ensure the spread of infection can continue to be controlled.

The situation will be reviewed weekly, with figures and decisions announced every Friday afternoon.

The rest of Carmarthenshire continues to be monitored and all residents are being asked to continue following the national guidelines to ensure the whole county stays out of ‘lockdown’.

The overall rate of infection for the whole of Carmarthenshire has now risen to 53.5 per 100,000 population.

“We’ve been monitoring the cases across the county very closely – particularly in the health protection zone – and whilst we’re relieved to see things are heading in the right direction in Llanelli, we need to be vigilant across the whole of Carmarthenshire as we are seeing cases appearing across the county,” said Cllr Dole.

“We are grateful to the people of Llanelli for everything they are doing to help keep Covid-19 cases under control. Over the last fortnight, the rate of infections has steadily gone down, and this is really pleasing. It doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet but we’re hopeful that the extra measures being taken by people living in the health protection zone will continue to make a big difference.

“We absolutely appreciate the impact these extra measures are having on people’s lives, families and businesses. That is why we are reviewing the situation weekly.

“If the rate of infection continues to fall, we may be able to lift these extra measures placed on the people of Llanelli. If they don’t, or if cases continue to rise in other parts of the county, we may have to make decisions that affect more people.

“For now, I want to say thank you. Thank you for making a difference – please continue to protect each other and bear with these extra measures for a little while longer.”

Social distancing and behaviours at licensed premises continues to be an area of concern.

Test, Trace, Protect contact tracing has shown that transmission of Covid-19 appears to be largely between people of working age, with most clusters traced back to known premises.

In the last two weeks, the council’s enforcement team, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police, have proactively visited more than 200 business premises across Carmarthenshire to offer advice and support, and take enforcement action where necessary.

On the whole, most premises are operating safely and following guidelines well, but 10 premises have been served with closure notices following unsatisfactory inspections – some have since re-opened following significant improvements.

Household ‘clusters’ are also becoming apparent, which means the virus is being passed between people of other age groups who are living together.

Everyone is being urged to continue social distancing, washing hands, wearing a face covering indoors – and also outdoors where they can’t keep two metres apart – self-isolating and getting a test if they experience Covid-19 symptoms including a new continuous cough, high temperature, or loss of taste and smell.

Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda University Health Board Ros Jervis said: “To protect our own health and that of both our loved ones and wider communities – from the fit and healthy to more vulnerable people – we must all play our part. Please continue to social distance and use other ways of connecting with people, as this is so important for our mental well-being. Wash hands regularly and wear a face covering indoors, and outdoors if you cannot keep two meters apart. Stay at home if you have any symptoms and book a test. There should be no need for you to travel excessively to book a test as we have good testing capacity across Carmarthenshire. And please, if you receive a call from a contact tracer be honest with them no matter what. They are not interested in enforcement but they are doing their job to protect your health and those around you. Being honest and doing what we can to protect each other is so important right now.”

If you have any of the Covid-19 symptoms, including a new continuous cough, high temperature, or loss of taste and smell, please stay at home and book a test the UK-wide website or dialling 119 between the hours of 7am and 11pm (people with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001 119).

Local commonly asked questions about testing and tracing can be found at hduhb.nhs.wales

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The current lockdown in Wales will end on November 9, despite the expected measures for England

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THE 17-DAY Fire-break lockdown in Wales will still end on November 9, regardless of a potential lockdown in England, the Welsh Government is insisting.

The confirmation comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering new national lockdown measures for England, after scientists warned that half a million people were being infected with coronavirus each week.

Mr Johnson is expected to announce the measures for England, some national newspapers, including The Time, have said.

In England, everything except essential shops and education settings could be closed under the new measures but no final decisions are believed to have been made.

Health minister Vaughan Gething said: “We’ve been clear that we’re acting at this point, we’re acting to have a definitive fire-break. We’ll see the benefit of that come after the fire break ends.

“We’ve also been very clear with the new national set of rules we’ll have, we all need to do our bit and we as a government have a continuing responsibility to look at what’s happening and act on the basis of the evidence.”

“We won’t hesitate to act further if the situation demands it, but the plan is to reach 2021 without further intervention.

“We want to get to the end of the year, but if we need to act further before the end of the year then, of course, we’ll be prepared to do so.
Gething could not completely rule out another lockdown in Wales before January – he said: “None of us can know where exactly we’ll be in six weeks’ time let alone three months’ time.

“It would be foolish and just not honest to tell the public that we can rule out measures at some point in the future.”
He added: “In the future, we may have to act but this is what we think we can do if we all buy into a new way of living, to think of what we can do, to allow us all to get to the end of the year.

“And then, of course, we’ll have to reassess the position that we’re in.”

As we reported last week, another fire-break lockdown is likely in Wales in early January or February.

That is according to Deputy Economy and Transport Minister, Lee Waters, said the current firebreak was unlikely to be the last in Wales – with England “expected” to follow.

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales Sunday Supplement programme last week he said people should be prepared to come in and out of lockdowns until a Covid-19 vaccine is found.

He said: “This is not the last lockdown we are going to see the projections we published in a worst case scenario show it’s likely we are going to need another firebreak in January or
February.”

He added that Wales is now witnessing a second peak, with critical care admissions increasing by 57% this week alone, and that was why the Welsh Government has introduced this “short, sharp” intervention.”

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Electrician has ‘fallen from height’ at Neyland Community Hub

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EMERGENCY SERVICES are attending to an injured electrician who has fallen from a height at Neyland Community Hub, whist working on the project.

The air ambulance has been called and is now in Neyland, ready to medivac the casualty.

Cllr Paul Miller, Development Director at Neyland CIC said in a statement: “This afternoon one of our electrical contract staff has unfortunately fallen from height during the course of his work. He has been attended to on site by paramedics and is currently being prepared for “transfer to hospital by air ambulance.

“The thoughts of everyone at Neyland CIC are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

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Local politician reacts to Corbyn’s suspension

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A LOCAL politician has commented on Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the Labour party.

With the announcement that former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the party, local parties have reacted.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who became leader in April, suspended predecessor Jeremy Corbyn from the party after Corbyn said the scale of it’s anti-Semitism problem had been dramaticall overstated.

In an official statement, Labour said that the suspension came after Corbyn’s failure to retract his words.

Jeremy Corby reacted to the suspension by stating he was going to strongly contest it, calling the move ‘political’.

Corbyn in Haverfordwest before election

Commenting on the news that Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the Labour Party after an inquiry found the party was “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” during his time in charge, Paul Davies MS, Leader of the Conservatives in the Welsh Parliament said:

“Mark Drakeford was the first Senedd Member to back Jeremy Corbyn for leader of the Labour Party. He needs to confirm whether he supports Sir Keir Starmer in suspending Corbyn or if he backs his political idol.

“The Jewish community in Wales, alongside all those who have fought against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, deserve to know whether he’s with them or against them.”

The decision was made by Starmer following the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report.

Speaking on the findings, Starmer said the report had brought forward a day of shame for the Labour party.

The report found 23 instances of what they called ‘inappropriate involvement’ by Corbyn’s office – with the Labour party responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act.

These were: Failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism complaints, Harrassment and political interference in Anti-Semitism complaints.

Speaking on the suspension, Jeremy Corbyn said: “I will strongly contest the political intervention to suspend me. I’ve made absolutely clear that those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong.

“It’s also undeniable that a false impression has been created of the number of members accused of antisemitism, as polling shows: that is what has been overstated, not the seriousness of the problem.

“I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism. And I urge all members to stay calm and focused – while this problem is resolved amicably, as I believe it will be – to defeat this awful government, which is further impoverishing the poorest in our society.

The implementation of the recommendations following the report will be ‘as soon as possible in the New Year’ promises Sir Kier.

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