Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

At least three more weeks of lockdown, First Minister confirms

Published

on

FIRST MINISTER Mark Drakeford said he hopes the country has entered the last three weeks of the “stay-at-home” requirement.

Mr Drakeford said any lockdown change depends on case rates falling and it was too soon to say if people will be able to travel beyond their local area.

He also said he hoped primary school children aged eight and over may be able to return to school from 15 March if Covid cases continued to fall. From Saturday (Feb 20) the number of people who can exercise together outdoors will be increased from two to four, although they must be from a maximum of two households.

Exercise must still start and finish at home. From Monday (Mar 1), licensed wedding venues will be able to reopen, in line with current rules for register offices.

Also more elite sport athletes will be able to return to training, and more visits to care homes will be considered Mr Drakeford said: “If in three weeks’ time the numbers are still falling, the positivity rate is falling, the R number’s below one, hospital pressures continue to reduce, then I hope we’ll be able to move beyond ‘stay at home’.”

He said it was “too uncertain” to say how far restrictions on movement might be eased, but he suggested a “stay local” arrangement, similar to local lockdowns which were imposed in the autumn, was a possibility.

While Wales’ case rate is at its lowest since September, the government said tight restrictions were still needed to ensure a safe return to school. The Conservatives called for a “road map to recovery” and for “rough timescales” for reopening some of the hardest-hit sectors.

Talks are taking place about reopening tourism in time for Easter, with bed and breakfasts and hotels with room service likely to be prioritised.

Talks will also begin with non-essential shops about the prospects of reopening.

Mr Drakeford warned there would not be a “wholesale” reopening of shops. Responding to the latest review of Coronavirus regulations by the Welsh Government, Darren Hughes, director of the Welsh NHS Confederation said: “It is clear that we need to lift restrictions slowly and carefully.

While we all want to see an end to restrictions, the NHS in Wales is still coming under high levels of pressure. We need the capacity to be able to look after you and your families and get the Welsh population vaccinated as quickly as we can.

“The NHS in Wales recognises how important it is to get children and students back to school, but this needs to be done cautiously to ensure we don’t see an impact on infection rates.

“We continue to see positive signs that Coronavirus rates are falling in Wales, and we are starting to see a reduction in the number of patients in hospital with Covid. “As more of the most vulnerable groups receive their vaccinations, we can start to look towards a brighter future.

“We’re grateful to our frontline staff, our partners in the public sector and the Welsh public, who have all worked so hard to drive down the rate of infection. We know the restrictions are hard for people and we continue to encourage anyone to come forward for help if you need it, whether that be for your physical or mental health.”

Regarding schools, children aged between three and seven – those in the foundation phase – are returning to school from Monday.

The next review will look at all primary pupils, and some older students preparing for exams, returning to schools and colleges from 15 March. That includes years 11 and 13, and students doing similar qualifications in college, returning in a safe and ‘flexible’ way.

Reacting to news that the Welsh government will consider non-essential retail in a review on 11 March, James Barnes, Chairman of the HTA, said: “With the busiest season for horticultural businesses about to start, the First Minister’s statement today leaves us with very little room for manoeuvre  and anxious to see garden centres opened on 11 March.

“Our members – growers and retailers alike – need certainty around opening dates and the key trading occasion of Mother’s Day will be even more important after such a difficult period which will now include closure on St David’s Day.

“We recognise the part we have to play in seeing this pandemic brought under control and have revisited our Safer Trading Guidance so that garden centres, which naturally lend themselves to Covid-secure trading with open and airy spaces, continue to provide one of the safest retail environments.

“Plants and gardening contribute to health and wellbeing and provide activities which have helped people safeguard their wellbeing and kept them occupied at home during lockdown. We call on the Welsh government to recognise the valuable contribution horticulture has to make as the country begins the process of recovering from the pandemic, by enabling garden centres to trade again as soon as possible.”

Responding to the announcement by the Welsh Government, Dr David Bailey, BMA Cymru Wales council chair said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s continued cautious approach to easing restrictions. Whilst there are hugely encouraging signs that we’re successfully tackling the virus with lower case rates and with the progress made on the vaccine roll out, we must continue to move slowly and be vigilant particularly with the threat of new variants.

“If we can contain the spread of new variants now there is less opportunity for them to create a new wave of cases which may also make the current vaccine less effective.

“Ultimately, we want to see more people vaccinated to protect our most vulnerable and reduce the pressure on the NHS before we can move forward to ensure there is capacity to treat severe COVID-19 infections, as well as successfully and safely providing non-COVID care to all those who need it.

“Alongside this we need to ensure rapid roll-out of the second dose of the vaccine for all healthcare workers to ensure maximum protection for staff and patients”

 

COUNCIL LEADER’S UPDATE

Pembrokeshire County Council Leader, Councillor David Simpson, has provided a further coronavirus update

He said: ‘Like me I’m sure you are finding time is marching on at such a rate that it is almost hard to believe we are now entering the last week of February.

‘I have really noticed that the days are drawing out which is always a sign that spring is on its way. Spring time brings us all hope that better days are ahead, it has been a very long year with so many restrictions in our daily lives.

‘However, we have all worked hard together and we need to continue in the same direction.

Council Leader, David Simpson:

‘It is pleasing to see so many people now receiving the vaccine and the rate of vaccination in Pembrokeshire continues to highlight the huge effort put in by everyone.

‘As of Wednesday 33,828 vaccinations have been carried out in Pembrokeshire. That is 26.9% of the population. We are getting there steadily.

‘Today (Friday) we have had an update from the First Minister in relation to the restrictions and the current situation in relation to the pandemic.

‘As set out by the First Minister it is clear that although we are seeing an improvement there is still a long way to go and we all need to continue to keep safe.

‘As an authority we will now be reviewing the latest Welsh Government guidance and I will update you next week on our position.

‘Next week we will also see our schools reopening to Foundation Phase learners. Our education team will be reviewing and keeping a close eye on how the phased re-opening goes and reviewing any further guidance from the Welsh Government.

‘The best place to find details about what will be happening at your child/children’s school will be on their school website and social media.

‘With the vaccinations continuing and the first learners going back to school things are improving, but we still need to follow the guidance and keep driving infections down.

‘I want to wish you all a nice weekend, soon it will be time to start working on the gardens and enjoy seeing flowers and trees bloom – better days are ahead.

 

News

Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

Published

on

A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

Continue Reading

Health

Pembrokeshire residents urged to take a virtual GP consultation when offered

Published

on

PEMBROKESHIRE residents are being urged to take up the offer of a virtual consultation, over the phone or video call with their GP, to help Keep Wales Safe during the current lockdown ‘stay at home’ restrictions.

The way we access local NHS services is changing, with more ways in which you can consult your doctor or nurse. Most surgeries now offer telephone as well as electronic advice consultations in the first instance. Following your advice call, a face to face appointment may be organised, but video consultations are also available. You can now speak to a doctor or healthcare professional using the video camera in your smartphone, tablet or computer and a connection to the internet. This is often more convenient and can save you time, as you will not need to travel for a face-to-face appointment. The system used is confidential and secure.

In a recent YouGov survey carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign only 27% of residents in Mid and West Wales had made use of the GP virtual service over the past 12 months with just 57% having heard of the service. However, 88% believed it was important to have access to a remote GP consultation once they had learnt of its existence.

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long Term Care at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “If you are offered a video consultation appointment this is because your Health Care Professional has indicated that is it safe and appropriate to do so. Your video appointment will be confidential and will not be recorded. If you require support please contact your GP surgery using the number provided in the appointment confirmation.”

She continued: “By putting off small problems or regular appointments you could potentially be putting more strain on NHS emergency services so please, help us to help you, do not put anything off. Local GP surgeries are open and are there to offer medical advice and consult patients.”

After being offered a video consultation you will be sent a letter, email or text with details of your appointment. This communication will contain details of the service that has requested to see you by video and have provided a web address link. You can type or copy the web address link into a web browser via an internet enabled device and this will take you to the video clinic waiting area.

  • In order to access your virtual appointment, you will need:
  • Access to a device that will allow you to access the internet. You should use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge web browser on a desktop or laptop, or on an Android tablet or smartphone or Safari web browser on an Apple iMac, MacBook, iPad, or iPhone.
  • Your device will need a webcam (camera), speakers and microphone.
  • A good internet connection (if you can watch a YouTube video, this is good indication that you have a good connection).
  • An internet usage plan that is sufficient to cover the data consumption of a video call – ideally use a Wi-Fi connection if you have this available.

Sixty two percent of those surveyed by YouGov in Mid and West Wales said they will continue to access NHS services using the new ways that have been introduced as a result of the pandemic. The new methods include making more use of pharmacists; virtual GP consultations and using the NHS 111 online and telephone services.

Continue Reading

News

‘Cautious optimism’ for county’s tourism sector – but clarity still needed

Published

on

‘GIVE us clarity’ is the overriding message from the County’s tourism and hospitality businesses as the sector looks forward with cautious optimism to another busy season.

In a meeting hosted by Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb, thirty key local businesses were able to share their views with Paul Davies MS, Pembrokeshire County Council, the National Park and Visit Pembrokeshire.

The meeting focussed on the need for business support measures so long as uncertainty remains over the timetable for re-opening the economy in Wales.

Stephen Crabb said: “There is a lot of belief around that this summer will see another ‘staycation’ boom so long as the vaccination programme continues to make good progress and infection rates fall. Pembrokeshire has had a lot of national media coverage in recent months and could experience a bumper season but it’s crucial we get the re-opening right. There is a clear need for some kind of timetable to help businesses prepare appropriately and for clear rules to avoid confusion and contradictory messages.”

Paul Davies said: “It was a pleasure to hear from tourism businesses across Pembrokeshire about some of the challenges that they’re currently facing. The message was pretty clear – they want clarity from the Welsh Government and some timescales by which they can start to plan for reopening. I’ll certainly be taking back the concerns highlighted during the meeting and raising them with Welsh Government Ministers at the Senedd.”

Emma Thornton from Visit Pembrokeshire added: “Great to attend the Hospitality and Tourism Round table event today and to have the opportunity to discuss the ongoing challenges our industry faces over the coming months but also to share a collective optimism for what we believe will be a really strong year for tourism in Pembrokeshire when we are able to reopen and welcome our visitors back.

“Visit Pembrokeshire as the new Destination Management (DMO) for Pembrokeshire will be working closely with local stakeholders and businesses to help realise this opportunity in a sustainable and responsible way mindful of protecting what makes our beautiful county so special”

Stephen Crabb: Wants clarity for tourism businesses

Continue Reading
News13 hours ago

Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer...

News20 hours ago

Police at scene of RTC – officers seeking witnesses

POLICE in Milford Haven are making door to door enquiries in the Great North Road area following an accident involving...

News2 days ago

Postmaster and politicians welcome Goodwick cash machine U-turn

GOODWICK post office will now be keeping its ATM, after a U-turn by Post Office Ltd. The machine was due...

News2 days ago

Judith Rhead murder: Police appeal to public for information

DYFED-POWYS POLICE can confirm it is appealing for information after the death of a 68-year-old woman from Pembroke Dock. Judith...

News2 days ago

Dale Morgan charged with murder of Judith Rhead, police confirm

DYFED POWYS POLICE have charged a man in connection with the alleged murder of 68 year old Judith Rhead who...

News4 days ago

Police investigate alleged rape of a child

DYFED-POWYS POLICE have confirmed that a 28-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of raping a child in the south...

News4 days ago

Police confirm murder investigation underway following Judith Rhead’s death

THE POLICE have confirmed that the death of a woman, who died in Pembroke Dock on Saturday, is being treated...

News5 days ago

Deaths could be linked to salmonella in SFC chicken’s boneless buckets

THE FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY has issued an urgent warning about a chicken product sold in food stores across Wales. The...

News6 days ago

Pembroke Dock death being treated as suspicious, police confirm

POLICE  in Pembroke Dock are continuing to investigate the death of a woman in Market Street. A spokesman from Dyfed-Powys...

News6 days ago

Pembroke Dock: Police forensics team investigating death of woman in Market Street

THERE is a police presence in Pembroke Dock this evening as police, and forensics officers investigate the sudden death of...

Popular This Week