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Police investigating asylum seeker protests for possible breach of coronavirus rules

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE says it is investigating the recent protests by service users at the Asylum Accommodation Centre, Penally.

The initial protest Wednesday night (Jan 13) saw around thirty asylum seekers from Penally camp march into Tenby, eventually heading out of the town around 10.30 pm.

On Thursday afternoon they were back in Tenby again, but this time in slightly larger numbers chanting: “Freedom! Not Prison!”

Superintendent Anthony Evans, Divisional Commander for Pembrokeshire, said: “While we will always work to facilitate peaceful protest, we are in very challenging times, and each and every one of us is being directed to comply with laws put in place to protect public health.

“We are in regular contact with management and service users at the Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre, and have built positive relationships with them and the local community.

“Together with others who are working with the individuals at the centre, we have engaged and encouraged compliance with the regulations to ensure social distancing.

“Following this week’s protests on foot, police have visited the Asylum Accommodation Centre and further engaged with service users. Welsh Government coronavirus regulations have been
reinforced and we are gathering evidence to enable enforcement where appropriate.

“Everyone is asked to do what we should do, not what we believe we can do, in order to minimise travel and contact with those outside our households.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn issued the following statement: “The situation at the Penally Asylum Accommodation Centre is complex and sensitive, and I would like to reassure the local communities of Penally and Tenby, that I am regularly being updated by Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Officers of developments in and around the Centre.

“I’m aware that police were in attendance during protests that have taken place this week, and I was pleased to hear that the protests were peaceful with no disorder reported.

“These are extremely difficult times for all of us. I have seen first-hand the difficult circumstances encountered by individuals that are residing at the centre and I have met with the

Chief Inspector of Asylum and Immigration who gave me assurances about an independent inspection that will take place in the near future.

“However, now is not the time to be gathering to hold protests, and I can understand the frustrations of the local communities when observing such activities.

“Officers will and have been acting accordingly when Covid-19 regulations are breached, and I’m reassured that the Force have been liaising with the site management team to educate them of the Force’s four E principles’ approach – engage, explain, encourage and enforce.

“I am also pushing for additional funding from the Home Office to support local resources that have been put under pressure as a result of the decision to utilise the camp as an asylum centre.

“In the meantime, we remain in regular contact with local partners and service providers, monitoring all situations around the facility.”

MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire and Wales’ Secretary of State, Simon Hart said “I agree with local residents that this appears to make a mockery of Covid rules which people have worked so hard to observe.

“I have asked the Home Office and Police and Crime Commissioner (for Dyfed-Powys police) for an urgent explanation as to how they plan ensure that Covid rules are properly and evenly applied.”

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COVID-19 tests being encouraged for wider range of symptoms

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PEOPLE living in Pembrokeshire are being encouraged to have a free COVID-19 test if they have a wider range of symptoms.

Previously, only those with either a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell, were advised to seek a test. The health board is now also encouraging people to have a test if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

The change aims to find hidden COVID-19 cases in our communities and drive down the numbers of onward transmissions.

Identifying infections, which could otherwise go undetected, is particularly important as new variants of the virus emerge. The more tests carried out, the easier it will be to spot early clusters of cases and possible virus mutations. This will help with easing restrictions in the future.

The new testing regime will initially run for at least 28 days and will then be reviewed. Swansea Bay University Health Board is also expanding its offer of testing in this way.

Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies and Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “Overall, we are seeing a positive picture across the three counties and there has been a steady fall in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“Also, the demand for tests has come down considerably since the end of 2020, so we have capacity to expand the offer of testing to those with a wider range of symptoms.

“We know the wider group of symptoms do occur in COVID-19 but are not reported as often as the ‘classic three’ symptoms. With the very low rates of flu circulating at the moment, it is more likely that wider flu-like symptoms are due to COVID-19.

“Our aim is to find as many COVID-19 cases as possible so we can prevent the virus being passed on to others. We want to do everything we can to help bring the pandemic to a close as fast as possible and help restrictions to be lifted.”

If you have any of the symptoms outlined above, please stay at home and get a test by booking online via the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

As these are national contacts, you may automatically be asked about the ‘classic three’ symptoms. However, to book your test simply choose either one of these options: “You have been asked to take a test by your local council” or “You are part of a government pilot project”.

Once you have had your test, you must continue to self-isolate until you receive your result, which will usually be within 24 hours of the test. If your result is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the date your symptoms started. You will also be contacted by the local Tracing Team.

If your result is negative, you can end your self-isolation, when you feel well enough to do so.

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Dale Morgan charged with murder of Judith Rhead, police confirm

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DYFED POWYS POLICE have charged a man in connection with the alleged murder of 68 year old Judith Rhead who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Saturday (Feb 20).

Dale Morgan, 43, will appear at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court today by video link.

Dale Morgan, in court today

A spokesman for the force said: “Dyfed-Powys Police can confirm that Dale Morgan, aged 43, has been charged with the murder of Judith Rhead, aged 68, who was found in a property in Market Street, Pembroke Dock.

“He is due to appear before Llanelli Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday, 25 February).”

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Judith Rhead murder investigation – Detectives given more time to question suspect

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POLICE have been given more time to question a 43-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder.

The man has been in police custody since Saturday night, after being arrested over the death 68-year-old Judith Rhead.

She was found in a residential property in Market Street.

The police now have until Thursday afternoon (Feb 25) to question the suspect.

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