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PUBLIC Health Wales has issued a statement on the latest Covid-19 developments for Wales.

Dr Robin Howe, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said:

“Public Health Wales welcomes the new action being taken from Monday 14 September by Welsh Government to prevent further rises in positive coronavirus cases.  These include the mandatory wearing of face coverings by people over 11 in public places, like shops, and that only six people from an extended household can meet indoors.

“As children return to schools, I understand that parents will be concerned at reports of positive cases.  I would urge you to follow advice from the school or local authority and only withdraw children from school when asked to do so.  Social distancing measures that are in place are designed to prevent the spread of the disease beyond the ‘bubbles’ established in schools.

“Again it is important that children maintain regular handwashing throughout the day, and on returning home, and parents’ help with this is vital.

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

“This has resulted in the spread of the virus to other groups of people.

“We continue to appeal to everyone to please remember that, even if you feel that you would not be badly affected by COVID-19 if you were to test positive, should you pass it on to older or more vulnerable family members, friends or colleagues it could be extremely serious and even fatal.

“Coronavirus has not gone away.  It remains the responsibility of everyone to help prevent the spread of this virus – that is, by self-isolating when asked to do so, staying two metres away from others, and by washing hands regularly.

Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr

“In addition to the national measures taken by Welsh Government, enhanced public health action is being taken in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil local authority areas to limit the spread of Coronavirus following an increase in cases.

“The enhanced action includes asking people to limit the use of public transport to essential purposes only, such as for education, work, essential medical appointments and food shopping.

“Local people are also being advised that they should not visit care homes unless it is an end-of-life visit.  In such cases full PPE will be required.

“Due to the recent rise in the number of cases of coronavirus in the Lower Rhondda area, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, working in partnership with Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council has set up a temporary testing centre at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council offices at The Pavilions, Clydach Vale, CF40 2XX.

“This testing facility is intended for people living in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area only.

“It is important that you only attend if you have COVID-19 symptoms – a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of or change to your normal sense of smell or taste.

“Appointments will need to be made in advance via an online portal – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/get-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/

Caerphilly County Borough

“Public Health Wales supports the restrictions which have been put in place by the Welsh Government and Caerphilly Council.  These measures are essential to limit the spread of Coronavirus and bring transmission under control.

“The measures include the mandatory wearing of face coverings in indoor spaces such as shops by everyone over the age of 11, limitations on travel in and out of the county, and only allowing people from different households to meet outdoors, not indoors – this includes extended households.

“These local restrictions are different to those measures introduced nationally today.  People in the Caerphilly County Borough area should not host people from any other household in their home.  The full list of rules for this area can be found on the Welsh Government website.

“In line with local lockdown measures, Public Health Wales would encourage members of the public living in Caerphilly County Borough to attend any booked medical appointments, including visits to screening clinics. In addition to the three measures outlined by the Minister for Health and Social Care, screening clinics throughout Wales have implemented additional COVID-safe measures to help protect all of those that attend.”

“Coronavirus can be a very serious illness, especially for older people or those with existing conditions, and a decision to introduce wide-ranging restrictions such as these is not taken lightly.  We remind the public that they have a vital role in preventing the spread of Coronavirus and that adhering to these restrictions is of the utmost importance.”

“I would appeal to everyone in the Caerphilly area that if you have even the mildest of COVID-19 symptoms – a high temperature or fever, a new and persistent cough, or a loss or change in your sense of smell or taste, or even if you feel generally unwell with no explanation, to make use of the local testing units.

“In order to manage the high demand for testing in the county, then the walk-in local testing unit at Caerphilly Leisure Centre will continue operating until Tuesday 15 September.

“An additional drive-through testing unit has also been established at the Caerphilly County Borough Council offices in Tredomen Business Park, Ystrad Mynach.  This site will also be operational until Tuesday 15 September, and its opening hours are 8 am to 6 pm.

International Travel

 “I also want to remind the public that if you have recently travelled outside the UK there may be restrictions on your return – these restrictions may be different in Wales than in other parts of the UK, and now include Portugal and some Greek Islands.  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 and simple to do, either by visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 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 the further infection has gone. Combined, these simple but effective actions will ensure the virus does not spread.”

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