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Residents urged to be alert to Covid-19 symptoms following cluster of cases

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PUBLIC HEALTH WALES, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board are urging members of the public to be alert to COVID-19 symptoms following the identification of a cluster of cases in the Tenby area.

The 22 confirmed cases are linked to social and sporting events and local schools and have generated a large number of contactssince the first cases were confirmed on Saturday, 12 June. 

A number of individuals, including pupils, are currently isolating and close contacts of the positive cases continue to be traced.

From Monday 21 June to Sunday 4 July, a mobile testing unit will be available for local residents in and around Tenby to access if they have symptoms.

This is based at Salterns Car Park, Marsh Road, Tenby, SA70 8DU.  To book a test visit the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ring 119.

Residents can protect themselves and others from Coronavirus by remaining at least two metres away from everyone else, washing their hands regularly, and by wearing a face covering where required. 

The virus disperses in a well ventilated environment, so opening windows and allowing fresh air to circulate is another way to keep ourselves safe.

Residents should take up the vaccine when offered, and self-isolate and get a test if they or anyone in their household develop symptoms.

As well as the three most common symptoms of Coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell – people with any of the following, wider symptoms that are persistent and/or unusual for them are also strongly encouraged to get a PCR test:

  • Mild summer cold symptoms – including sore throat, runny nose, headache
  • 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

If you have any of the above symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated, please stay home and book a PCR test through the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

When booking your PCR test, you will also be asked about your symptoms: if you have wider summer cold or flu-like symptoms as described above, rather than the classic three symptoms, choose ‘None of these symptoms’ and then choose one of the following options to enable you to complete the booking:

• My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms or

• A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me to get a test.

Farming

Pembrokeshire producer celebrating Porc from Wales Week

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PORC from Wales Week (24 – 30 January) is an annual celebration of artisan producers and retailers that specialise in breeding and supplying high quality porc and porc products, from traditional Welsh sausages to Italian style charcuterie.

With a ‘How far is your fork from our porc’ theme this year, leading figures from Welsh food such as broadcasters Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn of Hang Fire Southern Kitchen fame, and a host of food bloggers from Wales, will be showcasing the very best of locally sourced porc and where consumers can buy it from.

Experts in their field

Wales is home to small-scale and artisan porc producers specialising in creating a unique, hand-reared product; a consequence of this is that it is often only available to buy directly from the producer or local independent shops, like butchers.

How food is produced and the impact it has on the environment have increasingly become important factors for consumers in recent years. For generations, Welsh farmers have played a pivotal role in creating and maintaining the rural landscapes that we know and love, both physically and culturally.

The industry is currently a growing one in Wales with an increasing number of producers starting a new business and research has shown that 2021 sales of pork products UK-wide (fresh and frozen, cuts and processed) were 15% higher than in 2019.

Aled Harper of Snipes Bay Meats, near Haverfordwest, said: “We are small scale farmers in the heart of Pembrokeshire, breeding and rearing pigs to produce quality porc, dry cured bacon and handmade sausages.

“I believe that quality comes not only with skill and attention to detail, but also with dedication and passion. The trick is not to become complacent. That’s when your product will become just another product and not the unique, artisan end product that we aspire to.

“The bonus of buying porc from your local producer is that you know where your meat is coming from. Buying local helps keep everything moving along nicely in our small supply chain. There’s a certain satisfaction when you buy local – its benefits go way beyond the actual product you buy. The effects will be seen on a community level, an economic level and of course on a more holistic, environmental level.”

When Hang Fire met Scott Quinnell

To celebrate Porc from Wales Week, Sam and Shauna will be showing rugby legend Scott Quinnell how to cook porc ‘tomahawks’ with West Indian salsa verde, sweet potato steaks and jerk porc bonbons. 

Sam Evans of the Hang Fire duo said: “We’re delighted to be part of this year’s Porc from Wales Week. We’re all about cooking fresh, local, quality ingredients, with excellent sustainability credentials, so really, porc ticks all our boxes!

“We’ve created this amazing dish of porc tomahawks with a West Indian salsa verde and Scott Quinnell is going to help us make the dish in an exclusive masterclass. We’ll show you (and Scott!) how easy it is to prepare and cook porc and introduce you to some exciting flavours.

“What makes porc so special is that it’s so easy to cook with. We love cooking porc on the BBQ, but we’re excited to show you (and Scott) how you get the best from this fantastic produce in your own kitchen. You can get some cracking results from porc, and people shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with flavours. And it’s not just about bangers on the barbie; porc is great for roasting, frying, stir-frying and slow cooking. So, why not pop to your local butcher’s shop or your local pork producer and ask your butcher for some delicious porc. You won’t be disappointed!”

You can find Hang Fire’s recipe and more information on Porc from Wales Week at www.porcweek.wales

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Education

New film explores fake news and its impact on democracy in Wales

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THE OPEN UNIVERSITY (OU) in Wales has produced a new film which explores the growth of misinformation and disinformation, and their damaging impact on democracy. Fake News in Wales is set against the backdrop a growing awareness of devolution as well as the Coronavirus pandemic.

The film explores the difference between misinformation, disinformation and fake news – a term which became commonplace during the presidency of Donald Trump – and how each of these can affect the relationship between democracies and the public.

In the film, expert contributors discuss the role of politicians and the difference between the way Wales-based and UK-wide media outlets report Welsh news, and consider the challenges this has presented during the pandemic. These include uncertainty around where decisions are made, and what people in Wales, England and the UK have been allowed to do at different stages.

Fake News in Wales features contributions from Dr Philip Seargeant, Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the Centre for Language and Communication at The Open University, Jess Blair, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Cymru, Will Hayward, Welsh Affairs Editor at WalesOnline, and Shaun Bendle, one of the founders of the @thatsdevolved twitter account.

Speaking in the film, Dr Philip Seargeant told The Herald: “The basic meaning of ‘fake news’ is information that’s false or fabricated and that is being passed off as news, and thus as real. It is something that can potentially affect us all and the way we live our lives. Disinformation is false information which has been created on purpose, and so it’s often a type of propaganda. Misinformation is where the false information is more accidental, but it’s still false and so it can still be very disruptive.

“The Covid pandemic is a very good example, because you really want reliable information, so that people know what they can, what they should be doing. And it can have very serious consequences because this is to do with issues, of ultimately, life and death.”

Fake News in Wales is part of a new Active Citizenship in Wales hub produced by The Open University in Wales for OpenLearn, the OU’s free learning platform. Included on the hub are articles on How to Read the NewsSix Ways to Get Your Voice Heard, as well as a free course on Understanding Devolution in Wales.

Louise Casella, Director of The Open University in Wales said:

“Our new Fake News in Wales film offers a fascinating insight into how misinformation and disinformation can threaten our democratic principles, weaken our citizens’ ability to hold decisionmakers to account, and to have their voices heard. Though the term ‘fake news’ was popularised in the US, the expert contributors in our film demonstrate why we in Wales cannot afford to rest on our laurels in ensuring that people here are equipped to think critically about the news they consume.

“Our free Active Citizenship in Wales hub is the latest development in our mission to open up learning to the Welsh public and help encourage constructive debate. For devolved democratic government to function effectively, we need informed citizens who can read between the headlines and scrutinise the work of policymakers. I hope learners and other organisations across Wales will find it useful and thought-provoking.”

Fake News in Wales, the Active Citizenship in Wales hub and over 1000 free courses are available now on OpenLearn.

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News

100 drink and drug drivers in Wales involved in collisions during campaign

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MORE than 500 people were caught at the wheel while under the influence of drink or drugs during a campaign run by Wales’ four police forces at Christmas.

The annual drink and drug driving campaign, which ran from 1 December 2021 to 1 January 2022, saw 299 arrests for drink-driving, with another 120 for drug-driving.

Almost 100 of those arrests – 85 drink-drive and 14 drug-drive – came following road traffic collisions.

Dyfed-Powys Police Superintendent Clark Jones-John: “The fact that drink or drugs were a factor in almost 100 collisions in Wales in just one month is very worrying and, frankly, unacceptable.

“We run these campaigns to try and raise awareness of the seriousness of driving under the influence, so it is disappointing that so many people have been caught and will lose their driving licence.

“For some it will be more serious and they will lose their employment.

“Police officers work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and anyone who is considering driving whilst under the influence should know that we will be out and about waiting for them.

“We will continue to crack down on those who take this unnecessary risk and bring them before the courts.”

Dyfed-Powys Police arrested 66 drink-drivers and 33 drug drivers; Gwent Police arrested 51 drink-drivers and 49 drug-drivers; North Wales Police arrested 115 drink-drivers and 72 drug drivers and South Wales Police arrested 67 drink-drivers and 48 drug-drivers.

ACC Mark Travis, form South Wales Police said: “More than 500 drivers had a Christmas and New Year to remember for all the wrong reasons – after being arrested by police across Wales for drink and drug driving.

“It is disappointing that people are still prepared to take the risk and get behind the wheel whilst under the influence.

“I don’t think people are quite grasping the full extent of the danger drug-driving poses. Those that do take the risks clearly don’t think about the families of those people who have died at the hands of a driver who is on high on drugs or drunk.

“Our officers are often the first ones on the scene of these types of collisions and some of the things they have seen are horrific. Nobody should ever have to witness that or have to suffer due to the irresponsible unlawful actions of another.”

Police take action against drink and drug-drivers every day of the year. Anybody who has concerns about someone they believe to be driving under the influence are asked to contact police on 101 (or 999 if they are posing an imminent danger) or alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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