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Pembrokeshire a ‘high risk’ area for bovine TB

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badger cullTHERE will be no “large scale” culling of badgers to tackle TB in cattle in Wales, however Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion are being called “high risk” areas for instances of TB, it has been revealed.

The map  of Wales’ TB regionalisation was presented in a Welsh Government meeting yesterday (Oct 18) and the aim is now to try and avoid the disease from spreading from the high risk areas to the surrounding locations.

Furthermore, there will be a large focus on reducing the cases already found within the high risk areas.

_91970630_bovinetbmap1It has been decided that individual plans will be drawn up for farms with long-term bovine TB issues, and ministers are considering allowing cage-trapping and injection as means of killing infected badgers.

Wales’ chief vet has said there will be no “large scale, indiscriminate cull of badgers” and insisted any infected animals would be dealt with humanely.

There will now be a 12-week consultation where the Welsh Government will seek views on the appropriate measures that should be taken in each area.

Action plans will be drawn up by farmers, vets and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Lesley Griffiths, the Rural Affairs Secretary, said: “Since we introduced the eradication programme in 2012 we have seen a decrease in the number of new cases of bovine TB in cattle herds in Wales, with the latest figures showing the number of new TB incidents is down by 19%.

“I am keen to build on this success and speed up progress, which is why I am looking to introduce enhanced, evidence-based measures.”

Farming unions have called for badger culls to be drawn up by the Welsh Government for some time, a request which has been opposed by wildlife groups and activists.

A spokesperson for the Farmers’ Union of Wales said: “Targeting infected badgers would be a welcome move, but it is disappointing that it has taken so many years to move back towards common sense after the original comprehensive plan to tackle the disease in wildlife was abandoned by the previous Welsh Government.”

Responding to a statement from the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, concerning the Welsh Government’s Bovine TB Eradication Programme, Claire Lawson, Assistant Director of External Relations – Wales, said: “Bovine TB is a devastating disease, and causes grief to so many, particularly within the farming community.

“RSPCA Cymru has always supported humane, scientifically-supported and effective methods to tackle this disease.

“We will engage closely with the Welsh Government in relation to this new consultation, which we understand will explore the potential of tailoring certain responses, per geographical area, as a means of preventing the spread of the disease.

“We will make clear our strong belief that the culling of badgers has proven to be inhumane, is ineffective as a means of tackling the disease in cattle and actually risks making the problem worse. The Cabinet Secretary’s ruling out of an England-style cull, as such, is positive.

“Methods applied to tackle bovine TB must always be based on available scientific evidence and expert opinion.

“Improving cattle management and welfare, continuing a high frequency of testing, improving biosecurity and vaccinating badgers and cattle are all pivotal in dealing with bTB, and should be at the forefront of any new strategy.”

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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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.”

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