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Welsh ‘Fire-break lockdown’ to end on November 9, Mark Drakeford confirms

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  • Pubs and restaurants reopen
  • English lockdown announcement raises new questions
  • For the two week period that follows November 9, the national rules will be implemented across Wales

MARK DRAKEFORD today confirmed Wales will exit the ‘fire break’ lockdown on November 9.

The First Minister relayed the Welsh Government’s decision during a press conference at lunchtime on Monday, November 2.

Mr Drakeford said the unexpected announcement of an English lockdown on Saturday meant the Welsh Government had to take account of what Boris Johnson’s decision means for Wales.
Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, said: “Firms under severe strain will be relieved. For those in the hard-hit hospitality sector, the next step is to get clear guidance on how businesses can re-open again as swiftly and easily as possible.

“The First Minister has placed great emphasis on personal compliance and changing individual behaviours as we continue to live with the pandemic. Having already invested significant sums in making workplaces safe for staff and customers, business stands ready to play its part in making that a success.”

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS LIFTED

When he announced the end of travel restrictions within Wales, the First Minister said that no travel could take place from Wales to England unless it was essential or had a reasonable excuse.
He also emphasised that the Welsh Government relied on people in Wales limiting their travel to essential journeys only.

Steps would be taken, Mr Drakeford said, to stop people from England coming to Wales to avoid the English lockdown.

Existing travel restrictions to curtail travel from England to Wales enforced by Welsh Government laws would be mirrored over the English border during the month-long lockdown there, Mark Drakeford explained.

Welsh travel restrictions end on November 9. English restrictions on travel come in on Thursday, November 5.

The overlap between the two periods should – both governments hope – prevent any efforts to ‘break’ the lockdown by trying to get around the rules.

DON’T LOOK TO BEND THE RULES

The First Minister emphasised ending the lockdown and making sure a further lockdown was unnecessary largely boiled down to people abiding by the spirit of the restrictions which would follow its lifting.

He warned against people trying to find ways of getting around the restrictions and said people should do the minimum to keep themselves and others safe from potential harm.
Mark Drakeford emphasised that a great deal of responsibility rested upon individuals’ preparedness to avoid selfish and self-serving actions.

He said: “Rather than us asking what we can or can’t do, we need to ask ourselves what should we be doing to keep our families safe.

“Government rules and regulations are here to help. But the real strength we have is in the choices we make and the actions we take together.

BACK TO WORK

Mr Drakeford said all businesses forced to close throughout the firebreak lockdown could reopen on November 9.

He encouraged as many workers as possible to continue to work from home.

Because of the English lockdown announcement, the Welsh Government will continue to consider what arrangements will be made for hospitality and tourism businesses, although he said they would also be allowed to reopen.

A formal announcement in respect of hospitality businesses will be made as soon as the Welsh Cabinet have a chance to unpick the impact of the English announcement on hospitality businesses near the border.

Mark Drakeford said the decision was complicated because of the length of Wales’ ‘porous border’ with England.

He wanted to avoid using Police resources to control breaches of English travel restrictions to use pubs, hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities on the Welsh side of the border.
All Schools and places of worship in Wales will reopen next Monday.

CARE HOMES

Mr Drakeford accepted that visits to relatives in care homes were important to the well-being of homes’ residents.

He expressed hope that a new rapid-response test, would allow visits to take place.

The First Minister said one new test being trialled in Wales could provide test results within half an hour.

He suggested that test’s administration, at a drive-through centre (for example), before a planned visit would allow visits to relatives in care homes to go ahead, depending on each home’s policy on visits.

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Mr Drakeford recognised the strain lockdown put on families in Wales and announced a relaxation of restrictions on meeting with other members of your own family.

People should only meet with their ‘bubble’ in their own home and only two households will be able to form a ‘bubble’.

If one person from either household develops symptoms, everyone should immediately self-isolate

Up to 15 people can take part in an organised indoors activity and up to 30 in an organised activity outdoors, providing all social distancing, hand hygiene and other COVID safety measures are followed.

With schools returning from next Monday, young people will be able to meet with their friends in school but not within each others’ homes unless they are part of the same two-household ‘bubble’.

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Pupils from two Pembrokeshire school’s asked to self-isolate

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FURTHER cases of Covid-19 has been confirmed in Ysgol Harri Tudur/Henry Tudor School (Pembroke) and at Milford Haven School.

As a result, all pupils in Year 11 from Ysgol Harri Tudur and some students from year 7 in Milford Haven have been asked to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days.

Parents of the pupils in those classes have been informed.

Parents and carers do not need to contact the schools to find out if their child has been affected.

Pembrokeshire County Council, Public Health Wales and Hywel Dda University Health Board are working with the school to ensure that all possible precautionary measures are being taken to minimise risk of transmission of the virus.

Parents/guardians have been given the following advice by Hywel Dda University Health Board:

If a child/parent/household member develops symptoms of Covid-19, the entire household should immediately self-isolate, and book a test for the individual with the symptoms. It is unnecessary to test the entire household if they are not symptomatic.

The Covid-19 symptoms are:
● a new continuous cough
● a high temperature
● loss of or change to sense of smell or taste

Booking a Covid-19 test:
Hywel Dda University Health Board recommends testing only for those with a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or loss of or change in the sense of taste or smell.

If a child does not have symptoms of Covid-19 but has other cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, they do not need to be tested and they and you do not need to self-isolate. Your child can go to school if fit to do so.
If a Covid-19 test is required, this should be arranged via the UK Booking Portal, https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test or by ringing 119. Testing is available within Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire or via a home testing kit delivered to and collected from your home. The Covid-19 test is undertaken via a throat swab or combined throat and nose swab.

 Self-isolation:
It is essential that people who have Covid-19 symptoms, or who share a household with someone who has symptoms, must self-
isolate, even if your symptoms are mild. To protect others, you must not attend school, nursery, other childcare settings, work, or go to or to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started. They can return to school or work after 10 days if they are well enough to do so. A pupil must remain fever free for at least 48 hrs.

Anyone in the household who does not have symptoms must self- isolate for 14 days from when the first person in the home started having symptoms.

If a parent thinks their child has symptoms BUT chooses not to put them through a test all household members must remain in self-isolation for 14 days from the onset of symptoms.

If you receive a positive test result, you will be contacted by the Test, Trace, Protect Team who will advise you further.

Non-household members/contacts:
If a person has been in contact with an individual experiencing symptoms, they should carry on as normal until that individual
receives their test result. If this is positive, the Test, Trace, Protect Team will contact those people identified as contacts and advise accordingly.

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Jessica ready to help in access officer role

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Pembrokeshire County Council has a new Access Officer.

Jessica Hatchett took up the role earlier this month and has always
been passionate about disability equality in Pembrokeshire.

Jessica, from Neyland, has cerebral palsy and epilepsy and uses a
wheelchair or a walking frame to get around.

She believes her experiences as a disabled person will give her a
different perspective on the role which aims to build on the Council’s
commitment to making Pembrokeshire an accessible county to all.
A founder member of the Young Voices for Choices youth forum,
Jessica has previously featured on the cover of two access guides, as
well as the cover of a Bus Buddies project leaflet.

And Jessica is hoping to continue the good work of her predecessors,
Trever Owens and Alan Hunt.

Jessica said: “This job is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to help
make Pembrokeshire even better.

“Inclusive, accessible designs don’t just benefit disabled people –
they make life easier for parents with buggies, people with broken
legs or anyone who might not be steady on their feet.

“Simple design changes make a world of difference to someone with
additional needs.”

The Access Officer role involves responding to requests, comments
and concerns on accessibility issues; liaising with community access
groups; ensuring the Authority’s duties and responsibilities with
regard to the Equalities Act (2010) are met; supporting the work of
Pembrokeshire Access Group and giving advice on all access design
issues such as ramps, disabled parking bays, welfare facilities and
much more.

Jessica, a former journalist with the Western Telegraph, added: “I’m
really looking forward to meeting new people and giving them the best
advice that I can – and if I don’t know the answer I will find someone
who does.

“Also, whilst I am going to investigate good practice collaboratively
with other Local Authorities, I am keen for Pembrokeshire to set the
standard for access issues and introduce new and innovative ideas to
improve people’s quality of life.

“I’m also looking forward to doing my first site visit. I know I have an
important job to do and will take it seriously, but I can’t wait to see
what I look like in a high-vis jacket and hard hat!”

To get in touch with Jessica, call 01437 775148 or email
jessica.hatchett@pembrokeshire.gov.uk.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Brexit update

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AS THE Brexit transition period draws to a close in the New Year, Pembrokeshire County Council is working closely with the Welsh Government, the Welsh Local Government Association and other organisations.

The Authority’s aim is to minimise any potential for Brexit to negatively affect Council services and the county’s businesses and residents.

The transition period ends at 11pm on December 31, after which many changes come into effect.

To this end, the Council is publicising a number of websites providing Brexit information. 

They include:

https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support/pembrokeshire-preparing-for-brexit

https://gov.wales/preparing-wales/

https://www.gov.uk/transition

EU and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens who need to apply for Settled Status can find support from Welsh Government and Home Office-funded organisations here: http://www.eusswales.com/en/index.html

Meanwhile, public-facing frontline staff working in support organisations and local authorities throughout Wales are being made aware of the issues involved.

This will enable them to direct EU/EEA nationals and their family members who have queries to the appropriate specialist staff.

For public information on the Settlement Scheme go to: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

Pembrokeshire County Council also has a generic Brexit enquiry email address at: brexit@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

 

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