Covid Passes begins today, Care home changes & latest on testing of schoolchildren

Welsh Government has issued a reminder that from 11 October, people will need to display an NHS Covid Pass and demonstrate that they are full vaccinated against coronavirus in order to enter a nightclub or attend indoor and outdoor organised events.

The requirement applies to anyone who is aged 18 and over who wishes to enter a nightclub or attend an indoor non-seated event for more than 500 people, outdoor non-seated events with more than 4,000 in attendance, or any setting or event featuring more than 10,000 people.

People who are fully vaccinated can download the NHS Covid-19 pass for free to securely prove or share their vaccine status, or to demonstrate that they have received a negative lateral flow test result within the last 72 hours. Full details of how you can do this have been posted to the Welsh Government website.

Welsh Government has also confirmed that to make it easier to visit loved ones in care homes, visitors will be able to take lateral flow tests at home and will no longer have to socially distance within a resident’s room or in a visiting room. Restrictions around gifts, including food and drink, will also be eased.

In other developments, around 130,000 people in Wales have now received the booster vaccination after the programme got underway at the end of last month. This week, 12-15 year olds began receiving one dose of the Pfizer vaccines.

Secondary school pupils who are living with someone who has Covid-19 have been told that they can still go to school as long as they take a lateral flow test every day for a week before attending, and test negative each time.

New advice has also been announced for younger children, with under-fives no longer requiring a Covid-19 test unless it is specifically recommended by their doctor or carer.

Announcing the changes, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Over the last three weeks, we have seen the highest levels of new cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. This has largely been driven by very high numbers of infections in younger people – the rates in the under-25s are around four times higher than in the over-60s.

“Although the modelling forecasts look positive, coronavirus hasn’t gone away and the pandemic isn’t over. Our medical advisors are concerned about high levels of flu this winter as well as increases in other respiratory viruses.

“The vaccination is our best defence against the virus. Every day, more people are taking up the offer of vaccination. It’s never too late to be vaccinated in Wales – if you haven’t had your Covid vaccine yet, you can make arrangements to have it at one of the many centres across Wales.”

The Leader, Cllr Huw David said: “Welsh Government has once again stressed the importance of getting vaccinated, especially as we approach the autumn and winter months.

“Cases across Wales have fallen below 500 per 100,000 people, but this is still very high, and it is hoped that the introduction of Covid Passes will help to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

“The pandemic is far from over. It is in our hands to do all that we can to stop this from getting worse and to keep the county borough open and safe this winter. I urge everyone to ensure that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as quickly as possible.

“Anyone aged 16 and over who has not yet had their first dose can arrange to do so without an appointment – simply visit the Covid-19 vaccination centre based at Ravens Court in Bridgend (CF31 4AP), and bring along a form of ID such as a passport, driving licence or a utility bill for proof of address.

“Similarly, people who are overdue for their second Covid-19 vaccination can also walk in to any community vaccination centre for their second jab without an appointment as long as there has been an eight-week gap since their first dose.

“Elsewhere in Bridgend County Borough, mobile testing remains available for anyone experiencing symptoms of coronavirus. A drive-through testing facility is available at the former Revlon site in Maesteg (CF34 9TS) between 9am to 5pm, and booking is essential.

“Drive-through testing is also available at Coity and Litchard Community Centre (CF31 1PA) from 9am-5pm, and booking is essential before you can use this facility.

“A walk-through testing centre at the Bowls Hall car park in Angel Street, Bridgend (CF31 4AH) remains available between 8am-8pm, and booking is essential for this site.

“You can arrange appointments by visiting the Welsh Government website or calling 119. If you have hearing or speech difficulties, you can call 18001119 as an alternative.”

For more information about Covid-19 testing and vaccinations, visit the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board website.