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Stay at home, urges Pembrokeshire County Council

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OFFICERS leading Pembrokeshire’s response to Covid-19 are urging everyone to stay home unless absolutely necessary.

It follows news that positive cases in Pembrokeshire increased by more than 30% in the week ending 7th January.

The county recorded 316 new positive tests for the virus from 1st to 7th January.

This compares to 240 new positive tests in Pembrokeshire during the previous week.

“This is a really difficult time in the pandemic and Pembrokeshire is not immune,” said Darren Thomas, helping to lead the Covid-19 response at Pembrokeshire County Council.

“We are working hard to try and help keep people safe, and work with our partners to roll out the biggest vaccination programme we have ever seen.

“But I cannot stress enough: The virus is active within our communities and Covid positive rates are increasing.

“Do not mix with others – even outdoors – and do not go anywhere unnecessarily. Please stay at home.”

He said the Council are very concerned that some people may still be going about their day-to-day lives as if nothing was happening.

“We are very aware this situation will be frustrating and worrying to many people, but the choice is a grim one. This virus is a killer. It can kill you, your family and your friends.

“But if you stay at home, you remove the risk. Please follow the rules.”

The Leader of the Council, Cllr David Simpson, thanked everyone in Pembrokeshire who are diligently following the rules.

“We’re really grateful to you,” he said. “You are making a difference. Thank you.”

But, he said, some people’s behaviour needed to change.

“Please phone your friends and family instead of visiting them. Please shop less frequently.

“Start and end your exercise from your home – do not drive to do exercise or visit local beauty spots. They will still be here for you once we’re out of lockdown.”

Cllr Simpson added: “It is already an extremely stressful time for the doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff in Pembrokeshire.

“Please do not be the cause of someone ending up in critical care at Withybush Hospital. Please don’t be the cause of a family losing a loved one.

“We cannot over-emphasise this message: Stay at home.”

The Council’s message is in line with the Welsh Government, whose rules under the current Alert Level 4 are as follows:

Only go out to:

  • Shop for essentials
  • Work, if you can’t from home
  • Exercise locally – but do not drive to exercise

But remember to:

  • Keep 2m distance
  • Wash hands
  • Wear a mask, where needed

If you are shielding, self-isolating or just need some help, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Community Hub is there for you. Staff can help with shopping, collecting prescriptions, having a supportive chat on the phone, signposting you to other helpful organisations, and more.

Cllr Tessa Hodgson, Cabinet member for Social Services, said: “We understand that these are unsettling times for many people but my message is simple: please don’t be afraid to ask for help.
“The Hub was specifically set up to help Pembrokeshire people throughout the pandemic and the staff are ready and waiting to do what they can to support you through these difficult times.”
For those who are online, the web pages contain some useful information, including a directory of community support: www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/communityhub
The Hub can be contacted on 01437 776301 or emailing communitycovid19@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

At present the Community Hub’s hours are Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

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Return of Walk and Talk group for Dementia Action Week

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE Walk and Talk Group will make its return next week, coinciding with Dementia Action Week which runs from May 17-24.

Several events are being held across Pembrokeshire and the UK and PAVS has announced two Walk and Talk sessions.

One will be held in the South of the County in Begelly on Wednesday, May 19, and one in the North of the County in Newport on Thursday, May 20.

Walk and Talk is a dementia supportive group. The group provides the opportunity to socialise, improve your physical and mental wellbeing and at the same time enjoy the wonderful Pembrokeshire scenery. There will be walk and talk groups every week starting from next week.

Places are limited and will be on a first come first served basis,  to book a place on these walks please contact Cherry Evans on 07849 086009 or email cherry.evans@pavs.org.uk

Dementia Action Week aims to promote and make people aware that with the right support, people living with dementia can live a good quality of life doing what matters most to them for as long as possible.

One in fourteen people over the age of 65 are living with Dementia and approximately 42,000 people in Wales have Dementia. 65% of people living with dementia are women and 35% men

The covid-19 pandemic meant that many groups and clubs had to shut down and that has made things difficult for those people living with dementia.

People were left isolated and feeling lonely but thanks to modern technology they have been able to keep many in contact with those groups and their loved ones.

Throughout Dementia Action Week there will be daily interviews on the radio station Pure West Radio with lots of information about the activities and points of reference for support across Pembrokeshire.

These daily interviews will cover everything from diagnosing dementia, support, carers perspectives and even the power of music. You can listen to these each day at 11.15am Monday to Friday and at 2.15pm on Saturday and Sunday

If you fancy trying out a ‘tea and natter’ session on Zoom on Tuesday, May 18, at 2.30pm please contact Cherry Evans on 07849 086009 or email cherry.evans@pavs.org.uk

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Cllr Mike James is new Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has a new Chairman.

Cllr Mike James became Chairman at the virtual Annual Meeting of Council today (Friday, May 14) following an extended period as Vice Chairman due to the Covid-19 situation.

Cllr James, who represents St Dogmaels, moves into the Chairman’s seat vacated by Cllr Simon Hancock.

Cllr Pat Davies was appointed Vice-Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council.

At the same meeting Cllr Hancock was appointed Presiding Member for the coming year.

Cllr James joined Pembrokeshire County Council in 2010 and has previously served as Chairman of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Chairman of National Park Wales.

Cllr James said: “I feel very privileged to be appointed Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council.

“I always try to achieve the best in my life and this is right up there at the top.

“I hope I can achieve the high standard set by Councillors who have been Chairman before me. Councillor Simon Hancock most certainly accomplished that standard.”

Cllr James is married to Sian and they have two daughters, Fern James and Rhiannon Lloyd.

Born and bred in St Dogmaels, Cllr James attended Ysgol Llandudoch and Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi.

He worked for 32 years at Slimma/Dewhirst Cardigan and for four years as an LSA in Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn.

Cllr James has also served as Clerk to St Dogmaels Community Council, as the Carers Champion for Pembrokeshire County Council and as a representative on numerous other committees and sub-committees.

A member of Cardigan Rugby Club Male Voice Choir, Cllr James also sits on the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel.

Cllr James added: “The last 14 months have not been easy for many people. I hope there is a light at the end of a long tunnel where we can meet and speak to loved ones again.

“I am a people’s person and I hope, if I am allowed, to have the opportunity to meet and talk to as many residents in Pembrokeshire as possible.”

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New international travel rules for Wales confirmed by First Minister

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International travel will restart for people in Wales from Monday 17 May, the Welsh Government has confirmed today.

As part of changes to Wales’ coronavirus regulations, people living in Wales will be able to travel to some overseas destinations without the need to quarantine on their return.

But additional safeguards will be put in place to help prevent new cases of coronavirus being imported into Wales.

A traffic lights system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red, depending on their rates of coronavirus.

Mandatory quarantine is in place for all people returning to the UK from countries on the amber and red lists. All people returning from overseas travel must have a PCR test.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

 “Wales, like other parts of the UK, will be restarting international travel. But protecting people’s health continues to be our top priority and we want to do everything we can to prevent coronavirus from being re-imported into Wales.

 “This will not be like travel in the past. Everyone travelling abroad will have to have a test when they come home and for many people, they will need to quarantine when they get home. There are significant fines in place for those who do not follow the legal requirements.

“Some countries are not yet opening up travel to people from the UK. It’s my strong advice that this is the year to stay at home and enjoy all that Wales has to offer.”

Under the international travel rules:

• People arriving from green-list countries are not required to quarantine on their return to Wales, but they must book and pay for a mandatory PCR test on or before day two of their return. All travellers and members of their household will also be reminded about the availability of additional lateral flow tests to continue to monitor their health.

• People arriving from amber-list countries are required to quarantine for 10 days at home on their return. This is a legal requirement. They are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and on day eight. Unlike in England, Wales does not operate a test-to-release scheme where an additional test can be taken on day five to reduce the period of quarantine. This is because some 30% of people who develop Covid-19 do so after day five.

• People arriving from countries on the red list are required to quarantine for a full 10 days on arrival in the UK at a designated UK port in a government-managed facility – a ‘covid hotel’ – at their own cost, starting from £1,750 per person. All UK entry points for arrivals from red-list countries are in England and Scotland, which means Welsh residents returning from those countries will need to quarantine outside Wales. Travellers are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and day eight.

All those who do not follow the rules for red-list countries face fixed notice penalties of £10,000.

Welsh residents must also consult the requirements for visitors for any country they plan to travel to. Restrictions may be in place, including proof of vaccination, tests, quarantine and reasons for entry.

Vaccination status certificates will be available for people in Wales who have had two doses of their vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof from Monday 24 May.

The First Minister added:

“We call on people to think about whether they need to travel overseas at this time. We should be cautious about going abroad in light of the ongoing risk of coronavirus and the presence of variants of concern in many countries.

“My clear message to everyone is make Wales your destination of choice this year.”

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