JOINT STATEMENT FROM MERTHYR TYDFIL & RHONDDA CYNON TAF COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCILS, CWM TAF MORGANNWG UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD AND SOUTH WALES POLICE
Written by Gavin on 10th September 2020
Pre-lockdown – a request for support from the local communities to avoid the need for a lockdown in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhondda Cynon Taf
Due to an increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases and to prevent a future lockdown, Council Leaders in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhondda Cynon Taf are asking all residents to take action now to avoid the need for a formal local-down in the near future. The voluntary actions requested from residents, which are recommended with immediate effect, and include:
· Only using public transport for essential purposes, which includes travel to education, work, essential medical appointments, shopping and visiting supermarkets;
· Working from home for the next few weeks if you are able to do so. Actively seek the support of all employers to ensure that those that can work from home do so;
· Wearing three layer face coverings or masks, where it is safe to do so, whilst in work, in supermarkets and other indoor or crowded public spaces (recommended for age 12 and over);
· Do Not visit care homes, unless it is an end of life visit where full PPE will be required.
Both Councils have made clear that Schools will remain open and home to school transport will continue to operate in accordance with the latest Public Health Wales guidance.
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and the two local authorities are recommending for residents and family members in households who were previously part of the NHS Shielding Scheme, to ask their employers if it is practical to work from home. Residents are also urged to assess the risks associated with their day to day life and avoid, where possible, crowded public places, particularly indoor public spaces. This Advice does not mean the NHS Shielding Scheme, at this time, is restarting.
Both Councils are already taking action to ensure all large supermarkets, retail stores and licensed premises adhere to the Coronavirus Regulations that seek to control, minimise and prevent the risk of exposure to Covid 19. South Wales Police continue to actively enforce current Wales-wide covid-19 regulations with residents, alongside the Councils’ environmental health teams.
County Borough Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council said:
“We all have a responsibility to break the chain of transmission of the virus.
“By all taking these important ‘voluntary’ actions as residents, it is hoped we can collectively reduce the spread of the virus currently taking place locally and in doing so avoid the need for a local ‘lock-down’, which has been required in a neighbouring local authority this week.
“We will alongside Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Public Health Wales & the Welsh Government, continue to monitor the number of positive cases and will consider further action if the position does not improve and the number of positive Covid 19 cases continue to increase. We currently believe that these important actions by all residents will make a positive difference and will reduce the increases in positive cases currently taking place.
“A lock-down isn’t inevitable if we take these proactive steps now and ensure we all following public health guidance and social distancing. We still have the ability, through our individual actions to prevent formal restrictions becoming necessary.
“It is important for me to stress that as we keep this position under constant review, circumstances may change at very short notice, and one such change could be the requirement for a formal lockdown. This is something I would personally like to avoid, if we possibly can, but the health of residents and reducing the spread of the virus must continue to be our main priority.
“I hope we will all play our collective part once again to stem the spread of this virus currently taking place, by following the important advice we are provided from today.”
County Borough Councillor Kevin O’Neil, Leader of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council said:
“I cannot stress enough the importance of residents adhering to Welsh Government and Public Health guidance to stop the spread of this virus across our communities.
“As a local authority, together with our partners, we must continue to remind residents and businesses of how they can mitigate the risk of increased infection rates.
“We have focussed on supermarkets and will be issuing improvement notices should they be required. Our Licencing teams have also undertaken Joint inspections with the Police at public houses on evenings and weekends to ensure that everyone is complying with the rules to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
“We are also seeing a number of parents gathering outside the school gates. Parents must remember that it is for the safety of everyone that they adhere to social distancing guidance when dropping off and picking up their children.
“We understand that these measures are not easy to adhere to, and may make our work and social lives a little more difficult, but they are absolutely essential for keeping our communities safe and for protecting ourselves and others – including the most vulnerable.
“If you are feeling unwell with Covid symptoms you must – stay at home, get yourself tested as soon as possible and self-isolate. A contract tracer will get in touch with you. It is essential that you follow their instructions to protect others. This means you must not leave your home for any reason.
“If you have been abroad and have returned from a country on the UK quarantine list, then you must not go out for 14 days. Having a negative test result within a 14-day isolation period does not mean you can end your isolation sooner than 14 days – please remain at home until it is safe to leave.
“Please help us to keep our communities safe.”
Kelechi Nnoaham, Director of Public Health, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said:
“It is the responsibility of every single individual in our communities to conduct themselves in a way which prevents this virus from spreading further. As the rate of infection rises, now is not the time for complacency. We want to keep our communities safe and for this to happen we must all be cautious and follow these new important recommendations.”
“We are grateful to the vast majority of residents in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority areas for sticking to social distancing guidelines, and for the part they have played in protecting older and vulnerable people from Coronavirus.
“Sadly, there is evidence that some people are ignoring or disregarding these guidelines, which is why transmission has increased, and we are now having to take enhanced public health action to limit the spread.
“Our message for the public is that Coronavirus has not gone away, and it can be a very serious illness – especially for older and vulnerable people.
“We must all play our part to protect our vulnerable or older friends, family members and loved ones.”
Residents can find information on what actions are being advised in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhondda Cynon Taf at: www.rctcbc.gov.uk/PublicHealthRCT / www.merthyr.gov.uk/coronavirus
If you have symptoms of Coronavirus (new continuous cough, high temperature, a change/loss in taste/smell) you need to book a coronavirus test either online here or by calling 119.
Anyone who tests positive for Coronavirus must self isolate for 10 days. Test, Trace and Protect will ask you for details of the people you have come into contact with 48 hours before the onset of Coronavirus symptoms and up to seven days after, so those people can self-isolate for 14 days.
You will not be asked why you had contact with a person or what you were doing with that person. There are strict confidentiality rules in place – details of your contacts will not be shared with anyone else and the contact tracing team will not inform contacts that it is you who has tested positive.
Calls from Contact Tracers will come from 02921 961133 and text messages from 07775 106684.
It is really important that people take part in the testing and contact tracing process so the spread of the virus can be reduced.