Public Health Wales statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – 23 Sept

Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said in a statement today:

New rules in force across Wales tomorrow:

“Public Health Wales welcomes the package of new national measures being brought in from 6pm tomorrow, Thursday 24 September.

“These restrictions mean that pubs, restaurants and other licensed premises must close at 10pm, and offer table service only.  Off licenses, including supermarkets and other retail outlets, must also stop selling alcohol at 10pm.

“The ‘rule of six’ means that only six people from the same extended household can meet indoors.

“In addition, the Welsh Government has announced strengthened regulations and support for employees and employers who are required to self-isolate.

Additional rules for local lockdowns

“In the areas where local restrictions have been brought in (the council areas of Caerphilly County, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent and Newport), then those rules must be followed.  Details of these rules can be found on the Welsh Government website.

“We are continuing to see a steady increase in cases in many communities across Wales, and our investigations show that many of these have been transmitted due to a lack of social distancing.

New areas of concern under careful watch

“The council areas of Cardiff, Swansea, the Vale of Glamorgan, Carmarthen, Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire are all areas of concern to us and we are watching the data from there carefully, but numbers of cases are increasing in all parts of Wales so there is no room for complacency in any area.

“We are also seeing an increase in the number of people who are seriously ill and have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

“We are concerned that much of the good work conducted over the past few months is at risk of going to waste. If the situation continues to worsen, we may find ourselves at the same levels of infection that we experienced earlier this year in March and April; and with that comes the potential for more extended restrictions to be imposed nationally.

“Coronavirus has not gone away.  It remains the responsibility of everyone to help prevent the spread of this virus to protect older and vulnerable family members and friends.  They should do this by self-isolating when asked to do so, staying two metres away from others, and by washing hands regularly.

Free Flu Vaccine

“Public Health Wales is urging all eligible people in Wales to have their free flu vaccine as NHS Wales begins its largest ever national flu vaccine programme.

“Flu (also known as influenza) can be serious, particularly for those who are older or have a health condition and are more vulnerable to complications as a result of the flu. Having a flu vaccine every year is one of the most effective ways to protect against flu.

“Those eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine include people with long term health conditions, people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, children aged two to ten years old, carers, domiciliary carers and care home staff with regular client contact as well as care home residents.

“For the latest information, visit www.beatflu.org or www.curwchffliw.org or search Beat Flu or Curwch Ffliw on Twitter and Facebook.

Covid 19 Symptoms

“If you or a member of your household develop symptoms of cough, fever or change in sense of taste or smell, you must book a test for Coronavirus promptly to help control the spread of infection.

“You and your household must self-isolate while waiting for the result of your test. If you test positive for Covid-19 should continue to self–isolate for 10 days. Other household members, including those who do not have any symptoms, must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.

“We urge you to only get a test if you have one of these symptoms, unless otherwise professionally advised – for example those regularly tested by their employer).”

Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus is available on Gov.wales

Public Health Wa;es  role in testing and sampling

“Public Health Wales does not run any drive-through or walk-in sampling centres.  These services are delivered either by local health boards, or by the UK Department of Health and Social Services.

“Public Health Wales does have a role in processing tests and delivering test results, but the majority of tests for Welsh residents are processed by the Lighthouse Labs run by the UK Department of Health.”

International Travel

“Advice on travelling abroad, including the latest information on quarantine requirements on returning home, can be found on the Welsh Government and FCO websites.

“Anyone returning to Wales from countries which have been identified as high risk must quarantine in accordance with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office regulations even if they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or have had a negative test result.

“Anyone with suspected symptoms of COVID-19 infection – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss of smell or taste (anosmia) – must self-isolate and seek an urgent test.

“Getting a coronavirus test is free. Visit www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call the free number 119.

“Confirmed cases must isolate for 10 days, with members of their household isolating for 14 days until the risk of passing on further infection has gone. Combined, these simple but effective actions will ensure the virus does not spread.

Contact tracing and general information

“Contact tracing continues as part of the Welsh Government’s Test, Trace, Protect strategy. Anyone who has a positive Coronavirus test will be contacted by a team of contact tracers, and asked for details of everyone they have had close contact with while they have had symptoms.

“Please keep a note of your activities so you can easily remember your whereabouts on a given day, along with who you were in contact with.

“If you are asked to self-isolate, you should do so to prevent further spread of the virus.

“Tracers are trained staff and personal information that you provide will handled in line with data protection regulations and will not be shared widely.

“Information about the symptoms of Coronavirus is available on the Public Health Wales website, or via the NHS 111 Wales symptom checker.

“Anyone experiencing Coronavirus symptoms can apply for a home testing kit by visiting www.gov.wales/coronavirus, or by calling the national 119 phone service.

“Anyone with suspected coronavirus should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. They should only contact NHS 111 if they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days.

“Only call 999 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not call 999 just because you are on hold to 111. We appreciate that 111 lines are busy, but you will get through after a wait.

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