Posted: Mon 21st Sep 2020

Warning to rest of Wales after southern lockdowns – Newport issues started with ‘house party’

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Sep 21st, 2020

The health minister has urged people across Wales to follow the social distancing guidelines, warning that “a minority of people who choose to break the rules can have a really significant impact on the on the wider community.”

It comes after additional coronavirus restrictions were announced following an increase in cases in the Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport areas.

The measures, which come into force at 6pm on tomorrow, mean that large parts of South Wales are now in a “local lockdown.”

Speaking at today’s Welsh Government briefing Health Minister Vaughan Gething outlined where the cases in the four local authority areas can be traced to, and cited a lack of social distancing and pubs as a reason for some of the cases.

He said: “In Merthyr Tydfil the incidence rate is high, but the cases appear to be mainly focused around two distinct clusters.

“One is linked to a large employer and a pub. There are two new smaller clusters that have also been identified.”

“In Rhondda Cynon Taf local restrictions were introduced on Thursday, we’ve continued to see both the number of positive cases and the incidence rate rise.

“It is now the highest in Wales.

“We’re seeing many small clusters throughout the local authority area, which because of a lack of social distancing have led to community transmission.

“Initially, most cases were in younger age groups. But we are now seeing infections in all age groups.

“Particularly worrying we have 34 cases of coronavirus in people in the Royal Glamorgan hospital.

“Bridgend is a growing concern for us because there has been a sharp rise in cases in a short space of time.

“We’ve identified a small number of clusters in the borough, but we are worried that the pattern is similar to the one that we have seen in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

“In Blaenau Gwent we’ve seen cases linked to pubs and a lack of social distancing. But there have also been cases in care home staff and in secondary schools in the area.

“In Newport the rise in cases appeared to start with a house party at the end of August, and was subsequently linked to a number of pubs.

“We’re now seeing a wide spread of cases across the city which are not linked to a particular cluster or showing links with existing in cases.”

Mr Gething urged people across Wales to follow the restrictions in place in terms of social distancing, the rule of six and face coverings in shops, warning that a minority of people who choose to break the rules can have a really significant impact on the on the wider community.”

He said: “Our ability to make a difference to the spread of the virus rests in all of our hands. We will only make a difference if we all work together.

“Everyone of us has a responsibility to make the right choices and to follow the measures which will keep us and our loved ones safe from this infectious and harmful virus.

“We all need to keep our distance from each other when we’re out and about, we need to wash your hands often and we need to work from home wherever possible. We also need to wear face covering in indoor public places and we need to stay home we’ve got symptoms and while we’re waiting for a test result and we need to follow the restrictions are in place locally. ”

The health minister’s comments echoed those of Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, who in a televised briefing at 11am warned that cases in the UK could reach 50,000 per day by mid-October unless action is taken.

He said: “A lot of people say well can’t people just be allowed to take their own risks.

“The problem with a pandemic or epidemic infection like this, is if I as an individual increase my risk, I increase the risk to everyone around me and then everyone who’s a contact of theirs.

“Sooner or later the chain will meet people who are vulnerable, elderly or have a long-term problem from covid.

“You cannot in an pandemic just take your own risk. Unfortunately you’re taking risks on behalf of everybody else.

“It’s important that we see this as something we have to do collectively.”

 

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