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Valero oil refinery worker tests positive for coronavirus

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EMPLOYEES at Valero Oil Refinery have been sent emails confirming a member of staff has tested positive for coronavirus.

It is understood that the worker, who we are not naming, was send off site on Friday (Mar 20) and has tested positive for Covid-19.

This would make this the third confirmed case of coronavirus in Pembrokeshire.

The remaining refinery workers have been put on shift work of four days on and four days off – a change implemented in recent days to segregate the workforce into two separate groups. Valero employs 1200 workers and contractors at the Pembroke site.

A contractor, who asked not to be named, told The Herald that he was extremely concerned that non-essential work was going on at the oil refinery.

He said: “Yesterday, there was white line painting, grass cutting, non-essential electrical work being carried out – in my mind this is just crazy – essential workers could be kept on site and other things can wait.

He added “The number of people on site could be substantially reduced and we could still run a safe site. We have been told that areas where the person who has the virus has been have been deep cleaned – but morale is still low. A lot of people are not happy with the way the outbreak is being handled.

“There are many communal areas, and we all have to push through the same turnstile to get to work. I am very worried, and so are a lot of the other workers on site.”

Refinery spokesperson Stephen Thornton said: “Valero strongly believes in maintaining the privacy of our employees and contractors, particularly their health information.
“As such, we will not publicise individual cases of COVID-19.
“Our pandemic response in the case of a positive test, however, include compliance and cooperation with Government and medical guidelines, social distancing, deep cleaning or sterilization of affected areas, communicating with employees’ in “close contact” with the affected employees followed by implementation of appropriate quarantines, communication with our employees at the site, and, most importantly support of all affected employees.
“All facilities on the Milford Haven Waterway are taking similar precautions.
“Valero holds the health and safety of its employees and the wider community as its highest priority.”

This was similar to the statement issued by Valero spokeswoman Lillian Riojas last week. An employee at Valero Energy Corp’s Meraux, Louisiana, refinery tested positive for the coronavirus on March 19.

Refinery operations, for the time being, remain largely unaffected although many in the industry see run cuts and even closures on the horizon.
“Sooner or later they should shut down,” a products trader said in an interview with industry website S&P Global.
Analysts agreed that refineries will need to curtail their throughput as demand slows.
“Run cuts are expected in Europe due to the demand effect from the coronavirus outbreak,” S&P Global Platts Analytics said in a note. However, “refiners have not explicitly announced the degree of these cuts”.
The reason refiners are putting off run cuts for the moment is because the recent sharp falls in crude prices has supported margins. But, as one crude trader said, “what margin exists does not matter if there is not a buyer for products”.
“Globally, we are looking at a pretty significant reduction in short-term oil demand, probably down 3-4 million b/d for several months,” according to Stephen George, chief economist of energy consultancy KBC, who also saw the potential for “a general trimming of runs across the board in Europe”.

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Drug drive arrest following routine check

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A MALE has been arrested following a positive roadside test.

The vehicle, which was stopped this morning, June 6, by the Pembrokeshire Road Policing Unit (Pembrokeshire RPU) was part of a routine check.

Traffic officers suspected the driver may be under the influence after smelling cannabis coming from the vehicle.

A roadside drug test was performed with a positive result with the drugswab provided. A small quantity of cannabis was also found inside the vehicle.

The cannabis was seized and the driver was arrested, later released under investigation, pending the male’s blood test result for the drug drive offence, out of court disposal for the possession.

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Campers from Cardiff sent packing

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PEMBROKESHIRE Road Policing Unit (Pembrokeshire RPU) have this morning, June 5, reported nine individuals for breaching coronavirus regulations.

The occupants of the three vehicles, all from the Cardiff area, had moved barriers that had been in place to close off the carpark to the public and set up camp for the night.

A Pembrokeshire RPU spokesperson said ‘Three vehicles from the Cardiff area located at Abereiddy this morning.

“The occupants of the vehicles, who’d travelled down overnight, had moved the barriers that had been used to close the car park. Having done so they then set up camp nearby.

“All nine persons present were reported for breaching coronavirus regulations. One was further dealt with by means of an out of court disposal for possession of cannabis.

“Rubbish cleaned up, car park closure reinstated, vehicles escorted out of Pembs.”

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Police urge visitors to ‘check the rules’

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POLICE in Powys are reminding people to check the rules before they travel, as tourists from the Midlands, London and Bristol continue to visit despite lockdown restrictions.

Last weekend more than 1,000 cars were turned around by police in the Brecon Beacons after visitors attempted to access the area around Ystradfellte known as ‘waterfall country’.

Many of those stopped claimed they thought the rules around travel were the same as in England, while others had deliberately flouted them.

Seventy-two per cent of people reported for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions in Powys since March 27 have been from outside the police force area.

“I would like to thank the communities of Powys for their cooperation in recent months in complying with requirements of the Covid 19 legislation and also reassure them we are still working hard with our partners to police the restrictions that remain in place across Wales,” said Superintendent Steve Davies.

“Our officers have worked hard to engage with the public at every opportunity throughout these unprecedented times by explaining what we are doing and why, and encouraging people to make the best choices to protect public health in Wales.

“But where people have clearly flouted the rules we have dealt with them appropriately and issued fines.”

He said officers will continue to conduct stop checks throughout Powys and across the force area this weekend.

In England, people can now travel an unlimited distance for exercise and to access so-called ‘beauty spots’.

But the Welsh Government has said people must remain local – ideally not travelling further than five miles from their home – for exercise or limited leisure pursuits, and this also applies to anyone travelling across the border.

Wales’ three national parks – which include popular sites such as Snowdon, the Elan valley and the Pembrokeshire coast – currently remain closed to the public, as do all National Trust car parks and properties.

The latest Welsh Government advice is available at gov.wales/coronavirus.

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