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“Next steps towards a future with fewer covid rules” – Mark Drakeford

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WALES will move fully into alert level one from 17 July. The changes were paused four weeks ago because of the emergence and spread of the delta variant across the UK and to enable more people to be vaccinated in Wales.

And there will be further changes to the rules outdoors as Wales takes the first careful step towards a new alert level zero.

Alert level zero is set out in an updated Coronavirus Control Plan, which is published today. If the public health situation allows, Wales will move to this level on 7 August.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“We are entering a new phase of the pandemic. Cases of the virus have risen sharply since the delta variant emerged six weeks ago but, thanks to our fantastic vaccination programme, we are not seeing these translate into large numbers of people falling seriously ill or needing hospital treatment.

“We can be reasonably confident that vaccination has weakened the link between infections and serious illness. But there is still a risk that this third wave of the pandemic could cause real harm – either direct harm from the virus or indirect harm from for example people having to isolate

“We can move to alert level one for indoor spaces from 17 July and go further for outdoor spaces because we know the risk of transmission outdoors is lower.

“We are also publishing plans for a new alert level zero, which will have fewer legal restrictions but which will still need all of us to take steps to protect ourselves.”

From 17 July, Wales will move fully to alert level one, including:

  • Up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation.  
  • Organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 seated and up to 200 standing.
  • Ice rinks can reopen.

Wales will also take the first step into alert level zero as the limits on the numbers of people who can meet in public places or at events will be removed.  Outdoor premises and events will also have greater flexibility around physical distancing.

Also from 17 July other changes include:

  • New rules for children’s residential activity centres so children in groups of up to 30 can visit.
  • A specific requirement for employees to provide comprehensive information on the risks and mitigations identified in the COVID risk assessment  with their employees.

If Wales moves to alert level zero on 7 August, all premises would be able to open and most – but not all – restrictions will be removed and replaced with the ongoing requirement for all organisations and businesses to carry out Covid risk assessments. These will determine what reasonable measures are needed to be put in place to keep workers and customers and visitors safe.

There will also be no legal limits on the number of people who can meet others indoors, including in private homes.

Face coverings will continue to be required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport at alert level zero from 7 August, with the exception of hospitality settings.

The First Minister said:

“The pandemic is not over and the virus continues to spread across Wales, which makes it really important for everyone to say yes to vaccination and to do everything we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

“Even though vaccines have weakened the link between the virus and hospitalisation, we are seeing young, fit people suffer from long-Covid, which, for some, has a major impact on their lives.

“We have the headroom to continue to gradually remove restrictions, but each and every one of us has a really important part to play to keep Wales safe as we head into the summer.

The First Minister has also confirmed that people who have been fully vaccinated in the UK will no longer need to self-isolate if they are returning from an amber list country, in line with the position in England and Scotland.

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3-year-old boy killed in tragic accident on farm near Clynderwen

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A YOUNG CHILD has been tragically killed in a vehicle collision on private land near Clynderwen, the police have confirmed.

A spokesperson for the police told The Pembrokeshire Herald on Wednesday (Aug 4) “Dyfed-Powys Police was alerted to a collision involving a vehicle and a child at a private property in the Clynderwen area at approximately 7pm on Tuesday, August 3.

“Sadly, a three-year-old boy died at the scene.

“An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident is ongoing and the family is being supported by specialist officers.

“The Health and Safety Executive and HM Coroner have been informed. Nobody else was injured.”

The Herald understands that the incident involves an agricultural vehicle.

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St. Davids’ Jasmine Joyce scores opening try in Rugby 7’s win against USA

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With just one minute gone, Jasmine Joyce made a fantastic start for GB by crossing the line. Abbie Brown doubled the advantage heading into halftime.

Joyce added GB’s third converted try to make it 21-0 before the USA responded.

Kristi Kirshe crossed and Naya Tapper then went over at the finish for the American team but they could not make up the deficit.

“We had to stay in it,” said Brown. “We were backing each other up and we didn’t let them go. We are all about heart and desire – I am so proud of everyone.”

The GB team had earlier beaten Kenya 31-0 to book their place in the quarter-finals at Tokyo Stadium.

This is an impressive win for Team GB and it guarantees them a place in the semi-finals – where they’ll take on France.

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Trial bathing water testing project makes a splash

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A TRIAL project is making waves in the way the quality of bathing water is recorded and how that information is presented to those thinking of taking a dip.

Launched during the baking hot weather and at the start of the school holidays, the project run by Pembrokeshire County Council aims to develop an information platform for local people, visitors and activity groups to detail the bathing quality away from Blue Flag beaches.

As an Authority, Pembrokeshire County Council is very proud to have the most Blue Flag beaches in the whole of the UK, and this is testament to the fantastic water quality that we have.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the coast is blessed with these conditions and water quality can change on a regular basis

For the project, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Pollution Control Team will take up to six samples, across the period of the school summer holidays.

The team will then provide weekly information on bathing water results, framed against the EU Bathing Water Standards.

Pollution Control Lead Officer, Nathan Miles, said: “To achieve Blue Flag status, it is pretty well known that beaches must meet strict criteria on bathing water quality.

“But we understand that people like to swim right around our coast, not just at Blue Flag beaches, so we thought this trial could provide the bathing water quality information where there’s interest in open water swimming.

“The project is centred around water quality and water safety and linking up with local community councils and interested groups such as the Bluetits Chill Swimmers.

“We are looking for community partners or local councils to develop signage and noticeboards as well as use social media to provide information on water quality and safety in their area.”

Members of the Bluetits were on hand this week to launch the project as Council Pollution Technician Scott Findlay took a sample from Solva Harbour.

That sample will be analysed in the lab and the Bluetits informed of the water quality at the harbour.

Bluetits Chill Swimmers Director Sarah Mullis, said: “We as an organisation believe in giving swimmers the information and tools to increase their knowledge of their local waters in order for them to make choices and take responsibility for their own safety so that they can access all of the benefits that we know open water swimming brings. 

“Up until now this has been in the form of short films on rip currents, waves, tides etc. The data that has already come from this water testing scheme, and talking to Scott about what affects the readings has been fascinating, and we are learning new things about the water we swim in every day.

Pollution Technician: Scott Findlay takes a sample for testing from Solva Harbour (Pic PCC)

“We intend to share this knowledge with our community of 15,000 Bluetits, so this scheme won’t just help Solva Bluetits, but those worldwide to be aware of what may affect the quality of the waters that mean so much to us.”

Cllr Mark Carter, County Councillor for Solva added: “It is great to see this initiative between PCC and the community of Solva that gives local and visiting open water swimmers the information and confidence to make the most of the beautiful area that is Solva harbour.” 

Bruce Payne, Clerk of Solva Community Council said water is the driving force of nature and Solva’s bathing water is precious and must be protected.

He added: “The water testing scheme is very important to the community council. It helps safeguard the water quality for everyone.

“Water sports is also a vital component of village and harbour life. We care about our shared harbour environment and want everyone to be safe and to enjoy the clean seawater of Solva.”

For more information and to get involved in the trial project, contact Nathan Miles on 01437 764551.

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