Response to the coronavirus pandemic is developing on a daily basis, so here you’ll find the latest updates from Welsh Government. Because guidance and information may change over time it is important that you always follow the most recent guidance. If you don’t find the information you need, please get in touch with my office on 01443 406400.
Public Health Wales provides a daily update about the number of cases of coronavirus in Wales. It is available at: https://phw.nhs.wales/news/public-health-wales-statement-on-novel-coronavirus-outbreak/
Click here for Coronavirus Q&A.
UPDATE 26 May 2020
A risk assessment tool is being introduced in the NHS and social care to help reduce the risk of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds from developing coronavirus.
o The risk assessment has been developed by the expert advisory group, set up the First Minister, to examine the reasons why people from BAME communities are being disproportionately affected by coronavirus.
o Watch Health Minister Vaughan Gething’s press conference: https://twitter.com/WelshGovernment/status/1265243877880893440
- The Welsh Government has published a series of coronavirus statistics in relation to:
o Business, economy and innovation
o Education and skills
o Health and social care
- The latest scientific advice to Welsh Ministers provided by the Technical Advisory Cell has been published at: https://gov.wales/technical-advisory-cell-modelling-update-26-may-2020
- The Office for National Statistics has today published two sets of statistics about the impact of coronavirus:
- The social impacts of coronavirus on Great Britain, including a regional and national breakdown https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsonthecountriesandregionsofbritain/april2020
- The latest provisional figures for the number of deaths in the week ending May 15, including those from coronavirus. These show a small reduction in the number of deaths from coronavirus in Wales on the previous week. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsregisteredweeklyinenglandandwalesprovisional/latest. The ONS figures are different to those published by Public Health Wales as they include deaths in all settings and are measured over a different time period.
- The latest Public Health Wales figures show there are 13,556 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales – the real number of cases is likely to be much higher.
o Public Health Wales has reported 1,282 deaths of people with coronavirus.
- Collecting your possessions after moving out of your home. What to do if you have moved out of your home or student accommodation but need to collect your belongings https://gov.wales/collecting-your-possessions-after-moving-out-your-home-coronavirus-0
- Advice for nannies and their employers https://gov.wales/advice-nannies-and-their-employers-coronavirus
- School staff and their employment https://gov.wales/school-staff-and-their-employment-coronavirus
UPDATE 23 May 2020
- Wales will play a vital role in finding a way out of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Co-ordinated by Health and Care Research Wales, a collaboration between Public Health Wales, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and the Centre for Trials Research at Cardiff University, will take part in the next phase of the vaccine trial sponsored by the University of Oxford and funded by CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) UK Research and Innovation.
- Public Health Wales will lead the recruitment of 500 participants within Aneurin Bevan University Health Board for the Oxford Vaccine Group COVID-19 vaccine trial.
- As another bank holiday approaches Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates has been urging people to stay home and stay local.
- The minister said: “Although it goes against our normal welcoming nature, we’ve been asking people to please stay home. We want nothing more than to welcome visitors to enjoy our wonderful scenery and attractions but to protect our NHS and keep people safe – stay home.
- “We are all acutely aware of the impact Coronavirus is having on the tourism and hospitality sector. As the industry remains closed to help stop the spread of the virus, we are also doing all we can to help the industry at this difficult time.
- Travelling safely during the coronavirus pandemic https://gov.wales/travelling-safely-during-coronavirus-pandemic-guidance-public-html
- Public Health Wales has today confirmed a further 138 cases of coronavirus in Wales today bringing the total number of cases to 12,984 – the real figure will be much higher.
- Sadly, there were a further seven deaths reported by Public Health Wales today, bringing the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths reported by Public Health Wales to 1,254.
UPDATE 22 May 2020
- The maximum fine for repeated breaches of the coronavirus lockdown rules in Wales will rise from £120 to £1,920, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
- The increased fines are being introduced ahead of the bank holiday weekend and they follow a request from the four police forces in Wales and the Police and Crime Commissioners for increased penalties to help deter people from repeatedly breaching the stay-at-home regulations.
- A new made-in-Wales antibody test is being introduced throughout the UK to tell whether people have had coronavirus.
- Wales – and the rest of the UK – will roll out the new-style blood tests, including those produced in Pencoed by Ortho Clinical Diagnostics (OCD).
- The company is one of a number to produce the antibody tests for the UK – it became involved after responding to a call to action to help with the coronavirus response from the First Minister and Life Sciences Hub Wales.
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has approved £650,000 to fund a new system to allow GPs, paramedics and other healthcare professionals to get immediate specialist advice when reviewing and treating patients.
- The Consultant Connect app has been fast-tracked for use in NHS Wales to help deal with the Covid-19 outbreak and support primary care in the long term to offer better advice and guidance to patients.
- £30m will be invested in improving public transport and encouraging economic growth, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates has announced.
- Wales’ 22 local authorities were invited to submit proposals to Welsh Government’s Local Transport Grant funding to deliver projects which will:
- support economic priorities for jobs and growth
- reduce economic inactivity by delivering safe and affordable access to education, key services and employment, particularly for those living in disadvantaged or rural communities
- connect communities
- encourage active and sustainable travel
- improve public transport reliability and reduce journey times
- How Wales created 19 new field hospitals in less than eight weeks… https://gov.wales/how-wales-created-19-new-field-hospitals-less-8-weeks
- Professional sport and coronavirushttps://gov.wales/written-statement-professional-sport-and-coronavirus
- The Wales Tourism Business Barometer 2020https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/statistics-and-research/2020-05/tourism-barometer-coronavirus-covid-19-impact-survey-wave-3-2020.pdf
- Public Health Wales has today confirmed a further 166 cases of coronavirus in Wales today bringing the total number of cases to 12,846 – the real figure will be much higher.
- Sadly, there were a further nine deaths reported by Public Health Wales today, bringing the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths reported by Public Health Wales to 1,247.
UPDATE 21 May 2020
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams has today published a Resilience Plan for post-16 Learning, setting out how the Welsh Government will work with colleges, universities and training providers to help ensure learners are supported throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
- It is aimed at education for learners aged 16 and over, including further and higher education, apprenticeships, employability and adult learning and identifies the priority groups most in need of support and sets out the expectations of how education providers and the Welsh Government will work together in response to Covid-19 and how key decisions will be communicated.
- Watch the Education Minister’s press conference again at:https://twitter.com/WelshGovernment/status/1263069985993183233
- Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Julie Morgan has published a written statement about coronavirus and older people’s rightshttps://gov.wales/written-statement-older-peoples-rights-and-coronavirus
- Updated discharge guidance for health, social care, third and independent sector partners in Wales has been published at: https://gov.wales/hospital-discharge-service-requirements-covid-19
- Public Health Wales has today confirmed a further 110 cases of coronavirus in Wales today bringing the total number of cases to 12,680 – the real figure will be much higher.
- Sadly, there were a further 14 deaths reported by Public Health Wales today, bringing the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths reported by Public Health Wales to 1,238.
UPDATE 20 May 2020
- The latest Technical Advisory Cell summary report of the advice provided to Welsh Ministers has been published https://gov.wales/technical-advisory-cell-summary-advice-12-may-2020
- A statement from the Technical Advisory Cell about testing for coronavirus in care homes has been published – this advice underpins the change in testing policy announced by Health Minister Vaughan Gething on Saturday May 16 https://gov.wales/testing-covid-19-care-homes-consensus-statement
- The weekly testing update is available athttps://gov.wales/testing-weekly-update-19-may-2020-coronavirus
- A range of coronavirus-related statistics covering:
- Business, economy and innovation
- Education and skills
- Health and social care
- Are available at: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-related-statistics-and-research
- The latest ONS figures about the number of provisional weekly deaths, including deaths involving coronavirus, for the week ending 8 May have been published today.
- The rolling total number of deaths involving coronavirus in Welsh residents up to 8 May was 1,852.
- Of the deaths registered in the week ending 8 May, there were provisionally 211 deaths involving coronavirus registered in Welsh residents. This was one in three (30%) of all deaths, and 70 lower than the previous week.
- Most deaths involving coronavirus occurred in hospitals (66%), followed by care homes (27%).
- The numbers reported by ONS are different from those reported by Public Health Wales because of differences in the reporting methods and the timing.
- Public Health Wales has today confirmed a further 166 cases of coronavirus in Wales today bringing the total number of cases to 12,570 – the real figure will be much higher.
- Sadly, there were a further 17 deaths reported by Public Health Wales today, bringing the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths reported by Public Health Wales to 1,224.
UPDATE 18 May 2020
- From today, everyone in Wales with symptoms of coronavirus will be able to request a test as a new online booking service becomes available.
- Wales is joining a new UK-wide system for ordering home testing kits, in line with the Welsh Government’s Test Trace Protect strategy.
- Anyone experiencing the other coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature and continuous cough – will also be able to apply for a home testing kit using the new UK online website. For further information and a link, visit:https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test. This will be supported by a national 119 phone service through which people can also order a home test.
- https://gov.wales/written-statement-covid-19-testing and https://gov.wales/everyone-wales-symptoms-can-book-coronavirus-test
- The four UK chief medical officers have added loss of smell to the list of coronavirus symptoms.
- From today, everyone should self-isolate if they develop at least one of the following coronavirus symptoms:
- a new continuous cough
- loss of smell or taste (anosmia)
- Anosmia is the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked.
- £5m for mental health in schools will include new support for under-11s and teachers. The announcement coincides with the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams and Health Minister Vaughan Gething today announced £3.75m for mental health in schools, which will include new support for children under the age of 11.
- School counselling services currently provide direct support to young people from the age of 11, or year six, up to the age of 18. The funding announced today will extend support to provide mental and emotional support to children younger than year six.
- Around 11,500 young people each year access lower level mental health support, outside specialist NHS provision, in schools and community counselling services.
- The latest information from Public Health Wales shows there are 12,404 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales – the actual number of cases will be much higher.
- The number of deaths recorded by Public Health Wales is today 1,207.
UPDATE 15 May 2020
esting extended to all care home residents in Wales, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has today announced, following a change in scientific advice.
- Recycling centres are to reopen in Wales Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn has announced.
o They will slowly begin to reopen in the next week, with the majority of local authorities opting to reopen from the 26th May.
o Recycling centres across Wales had been shut in order to maintain key services, in particular the household collection of waste and recycling.
o Taking waste to a recycling centrehttps://gov.wales/taking-waste-household-waste-and-recycling-centre
- Public Health Wales has today confirmed a further 183 cases of coronavirus in Wales today bringing the total number of cases to 12,142 – the real figure will be much higher.
o Sadly, there were a further 18 deaths reported by Public Health Wales today, bringing the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths reported by Public Health Wales to 1,191.
- Your questions about the stay-at-home regulations answeredhttps://gov.wales/coronavirus-regulations-guidance
- What to do if you are self-isolating and your home needs to be repairedhttps://gov.wales/repairs-your-rented-home-during-coronavirus-pandemic
UPDATE 14 May 2020
- The First Minister today published a roadmap to lead Wales out of lockdown – Unlocking our society and economy: continuing the conversation, is part of a cautious, coherent approach to easing lockdown and builds on Leading Wales out of the coronavirus pandemic: a framework for recovery, which was published on 24 April.
- The roadmap sets out a traffic light system todefine how restrictions on different areas of Welsh life can begin to be eased.
- Unlocking our society and economy: continuing the conversation is available at: https://gov.wales/unlocking-our-society-and-economy-continuing-conversation andhttps://llyw.cymru/llacior-cyfyngiadau-ar-ein-cymdeithas-heconomi-dal-i-drafod
- More information is available at:https://gov.wales/unlocking-our-society-and-economy-wales-roadmap-published
- Watch the First Minister’s press conference about the roadmap at:https://twitter.com/WelshGovernment/status/1261258036519174145
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams has published the decision framework for the next phase of education and childcare.
- Schools have remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic but normal education provision has been suspended. The framework sets out the Welsh Government’s current thinking about how schools, other education settings and childcare providers’ operations will change to accommodate social distancing and other factors.
- The framework is available athttps://gov.wales/decision-framework-next-phase-education-and-childcare
- The press release is available at:https://gov.wales/education-minister-sets-out-thinking-return-schools
- Wales’ Economic Resilience Fund will not support tax avoiders, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans and Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates today said.
- Businesses whose headquarters are based in a recognised ‘tax haven’ will not be eligible for COVID-19 financial support from the Welsh Government. Businesses owned by a company or individual living in a 100% tax haven will not be eligible for financial support from the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund.
- ONS has today published an article about deaths and coronavirus-related deaths in care home residents
- There were 3,445 deaths in care home residents in Wales between 8 December 2019 and 1 May 2020, according to the ONS figures. There were 532 deaths involving coronavirus in care home residents in Wales – this is the lowest number in comparison to other English regions.
- The analysis also shows a higher proportion of deaths involving coronavirus among male care home residents than females across all age groups.
- Public Health Wales has today confirmed a further 126 cases of coronavirus in Wales today bringing the total number of cases to 11,960 – the real figure will be much higher.
- Sadly, there were a further nine deaths reported by Public Health Wales today, bringing the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths reported by Public Health Wales to 1,173.
- Guidance about verifying death in terms of an emergency has been publishedhttps://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-05/coronavirus-covid19-verifying-death-in-times-of-emergency_0.pdf
- This is designed to clarify existing practice for the verification of death outside of hospitals and to provide a framework for safe verification of death in this coronavirus emergency period. It is to be applied in all cases outside hospital when verification of death may be completed by people who have been trained and are competent to do so in line with their employer’s policies, including medical practitioners, registered nurses, paramedics, allied healthcare professionals (AHPs) and care staff.
UPDATE 13 May 2020
- Wales is in a much stronger position to provide vital PPE equipment because of our relationships abroad and our ability to make things at home, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters has said.
- It comes as manufacturing company Hardshell has brought in surgical mask making machines to create a new factory in Cardiff to produce up to a million fluid resistant face masks per day for health, social care and other key workers, in Wales and the rest of the UK.
- North Wales Minister Ken Skates has urged people living in England not to travel to Wales this weekend.
- In an open letter to people living in North West England, the Minister said he looked forward to welcoming visitors back to North Wales later
- People across Wales are being urged to stay safe and well and to remember emergency department staff are available if they need urgent help.
- The number of people attending Welsh emergency departments has fallen by up to 50% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Public Health Wales has today confirmed a further 128 cases of coronavirus in Wales today bringing the total number of cases to 11,834 – the real figure will be much higher.
- Sadly, there were a further 10 deaths reported by Public Health Wales today, bringing the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths reported by Public Health Wales to 1,164.
- Funding announced by Creative Wales for grassroots music venues as part of the Welsh Government’s £18m support for the cultural sector has now been fully allocated https://gov.wales/support-grassroots-music-venues-wales
- The latest summary of advice to Welsh Ministers from the Technical Advisory Cell has been published athttps://gov.wales/technical-advisory-cell-summary-advice-5-march-2020
- An updated Q&A about testing is attached, this includes details at the Test, Trace, Protect plan, which was launched yesterday.
- A series of procurement webinars have been organised by Procurex Wales and the Procurement Advice and Support Service
- The webinars are taking place throughout May and include sessions focused on coronavirus. More information is available athttps://gov.wales/procurement-webinars
UPDATE 12 May 2020
- Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has today published a new strategy to test the public and trace the spread of coronavirus in Wales.
- Mass testing and technology will be at the heart of the Test, Trace and Protect strategy, which will help Wales move to the next stage of the response to the virus.
- An online survey asking Wales’ children and young people for their views and opinions during the coronavirus pandemic has launched today.
- Coronavirus and Me is open to people aged seven to 18 and covers key themes and issues including about their health, education, the impact on social aspects of their lives and the needs of specific groups.
- The survey is available atwww.childcomwales.org.uk/coronavirusandme
- More information at: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-and-me-wales-young-people-asked-about-their-thoughts-and-concerns-during-pandemic
- Public Health Wales has today confirmed a further 133 cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 11,706 – the real number of cases in Wales will be much higher.
- Sadly, there were a further 22 deaths reported today, bringing the total reported by Public Health Wales to 1,154.
- A letter from the Chief Dental Officer to primary care dental teams detailing financial support available is athttps://gov.wales/covid-19-business-continuity-and-financial-support-dental-practices-providing-nhs-services
- A detailed guide about coronavirus support for vulnerable children is available at https://gov.wales/vulnerable-children-and-young-people-coronavirus
UPDATE 11 May 2020
- First Minister’s message to the people of Wales about the changes to the regulations in Wales
- Changes to the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020https://gov.wales/health-protection-coronavirus-restrictions-wales-regulations-2020-amended
- A Q&A about the amended coronavirus regulations is attached to this email.
- Public Health Wales has today reported a further 124 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales bringing the daily total to 11,468.
- Sadly, there were five further deaths reported today of people with coronavirus, bringing the total number reported by Public Health Wales to 1,116.
- The Office for National Statistics has today published information about deaths from coronavirus broken down by occupationhttps://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/covid19relateddeathsbyoccupationenglandandwalesdeathsregistereduptoandincluding20thapril2020
UPDATE 10 May 2020
Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has announced funding for Welsh dairy farmers hardest hit by the recent exceptional market conditions as a result of coronavirus.
o The dairy sector has felt the immediate impact of the global pandemic with the closure of the food service and hospitality sectors.
o To support the sector, eligible dairy farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income in April and in May will be entitled to up to £10,000, to cover 70% of their lost income. This will help ensure they can continue to operate without impacting animal welfare and the environment.
- The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus reported by Public Health Wales today stands at 11,344 – the actual number of cases in Wales will be higher.
o The number of deaths of people with coronavirus reported by Public Health Wales stands at 1,111
- Guidance for nurses and midwives returning to the NHS to help with coronavirus is available athttps://gov.wales/temporarily-registered-nurses-and-midwives-guidance-html
o If you are an overseas-trained nurse and want to join the register – more information is available athttps://gov.wales/overseas-trained-nurses-join-temporary-register
UPDATE 09 May 2020
First Minister Mark Drakeford has today announced the stay-at-home regulations will remain in force in Wales until the next review period in three weeks’ time.
o Wales intends to make three small adjustments to the regulations, which will come into force on Monday:
- Removing the once-a-day exercise restriction – exercise will have to start and end at home and stay local.
- Allowing garden centres to open, if they are able to comply with the workplace physical distancing duty.
- Enabling local authorities to begin to plan for the re-opening of libraries and municipal recycling centres.
o The First Minister set these out in the Welsh Government’s press conference – you can watch this again at:https://twitter.com/WelshGovernment/status/1258721318356127745
o The coronavirus lockdown in Wales will be extended for a further three weeks, with minor adjustments proposed but maximum caution maintained to ensure the virus does not spread https://gov.wales/wales-extends-coronavirus-lockdown
o The R number explainedhttps://twitter.com/WelshGovernment/status/1258638036067323904
o Technical Advisory Cell papers have been publishedhttps://gov.wales/technical-advisory-cell-modelling-update andhttps://llyw.cymru/y-gell-cyngor-technegol-y-modelu-diweddaraf
- Public Health Wales has today reported a further 152 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total to 11,003. The actual total in Wales will be much higher.
o Very sadly, a further 28 deaths have been of people with coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths reported by Public Health Wales to 1,090.
- VE-Day 75: First Minister pays tribute to those who lived through the Second World Warhttps://gov.wales/ve-day-75-first-minister-pays-tribute-those-who-lived-through-second-world-war and https://gov.wales/ve-day-75-zoom-calls-with-ww2-vets-tea-parties-at-home-and-a-silence-to-unite-the-nation
UPDATE 08 May 2020
- Dr Andrew Goodall, chief executive of NHS Wales, today set said the health service will take a “progressive but cautious” approach to providing more routine care and services
- He made the announcement during today’s Welsh Government press conference, which is available athttps://twitter.com/WelshGovernment/status/1258358940787552256
- An NHS operating framework and guidance about maintaining essential services during the coronavirus pandemic has been published. These are available at: https://gov.wales/written-statement-coronavirus-covid-19-nhs-wales-operating-framework-quarter-1-202021 andhttps://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-05/maintaining-essential-health-services-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-summary-of-services-deemed-essential.pdf
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams has confirmed the situation for schools in Wales will not change on June 1
- Professor Jean White has signed the open letter, which also encourages people who have left nursing in the last five years to re-join to help care for people with coronavirus.
- The letter is being published as people across Wales come together on their doorsteps again to ‘Clap for Carers’, showing their gratitude to all those providing essential services.
- Public Health Wales has today reported a further 87 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number to 10,851. The actual number of cases will be much higher.
- Very sadly it has also recorded another 18 deaths of people who have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total reported by Public Health Wales to 1,062.
- Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt has launched a new campaign to make sure victims and survivors of domestic abuse know they are not alone, and that they can access support during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond.
- The campaign will also encourage bystanders to recognise the signs of domestic abuse, and to seek support for those who are unable to get help themselves.
- If you’re experiencing violence or abuse at home, or you’re concerned about someone, the free, confidential Live Fear Free helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The work of volunteers is being highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic
- More than 100 volunteers are producing much needed medical scrubs for Wales’ healthcare heroes in the NHS with material provided by Welsh Government https://gov.wales/volunteers-producing-thousands-vital-scrubs-healthcare-heroes
- More than 360 people responded to a call for help from Carmarthenshire Council to set up furniture and equipment at the county’s four field hospitals just 24 hours after the appeal for volunteers went live through the Carmarthenshire Association of Volunteering Services (CAVS) Volunteering Wales website and connect2carmarthenshire.org.ukhttps://gov.wales/minister-jane-hutt-praises-wales-volunteer-effort-carmarthenshire-field-hospitals-recruit-360
- Almost £65m of applications have now been processed from the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund, the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates has revealed https://gov.wales/economic-resilience-fund-support-reaching-businesses-quickly
- The Welsh Government will support Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Wales with their running costs for up to three months, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn has announced.
- BIDs are partnerships that bring businesses and communities together to improve and promote their town and city centres. They also have a key role to play in the Transforming Towns agenda announced in January.
- There are 16 BIDs across Wales, 15 in towns and cities, and one Industrial BID in Blaenau Gwent. Providing funding support for their running costs will help ensure the BIDs can continue, and are able to be at the forefront of recovery efforts.
UPDATE 07 May 2020
- Thousands of small charities within the retail, leisure and hospitality sector will receive a £10,000 business support grant to help them respond to the financial challenges of Covid-19, the Welsh Government has announced.
- This new £26m package – an extension to the existing Covid-19 grants scheme announced last month – will support an additional 2,600 properties with a rateable value of £12,000 or below. This includes charity run shops, sports premises and community centres which, until now, have not been eligible for this type of support.
- A comprehensive briefing about coronavirus covering the legal and constitutional aspects of the pandemic is attached.
- Public Health Wales has today reported a further 95 cases of coronavirus bringing the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales to 10,764 – the actual number of cases will be much higher.
- Very sadly a further 21 deaths of people with confirmed coronavirus have been reported bringing the number of deaths reported by Public Health Wales to 1,044.
- Care Inspectorate Wales and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales have published a joint statement urging everyone providing care to speak up to reduce the risk of harm.
- The statement from Gillian Baranski, chief inspector of Care Inspectorate Wales and Alun Jones, interim chief executive, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, states: “Everyone who has a role in providing care needs to be more vigilant so that we can reduce the risk of avoidable harm to people.
- “You can do this by following safety systems, guidance and recommendations that ensure the right care is provided, as intended, every time and continuing to report safety incidents and concerns locally using your professional and clinical judgement. We need to continue to learn from what works as well as what does not.”
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has endorsed a joint statement by NHS Employers, the Association of Directors of Social Services, Trade Unions and Welsh Government which sets out the need for a precautionary approach as the evidence base is evolving about the differential impact of coronavirus on members of the health and care workforce.
- The statement follows the launch of a UK and Welsh inquiry to investigate why people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds appear to be disproportionately affected by coronavirus.
- A consumer marketing campaign to increase the demand for liquid milk across the UK to support the dairy sector impacted by coronavirus, is set to get underway https://gov.wales/campaign-boost-consumer-demand-milk-get-underway
UPDATE 06 May 2020
Health Minister Vaughan Gething has today mapped out an ambitious Response Plan to prepare Wales for the next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.
o The Public Health Protection Response Plan will set out how an effective ‘test, track and trace’ programme and digital technology and will be pivotal to controlling transmission of the virus.
o It will outline what can be done at scale and pace, in partnership with agencies and organisations across Wales, to move the country through the recovery phase.
- People in Wales are being asked to act responsibly and to avoid unnecessary travel until Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have been lifted by the Welsh Government.
o In an open letter ahead of the bank holiday weekend, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, Cllr Andrew Morgan, Leader of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), the Chair of Policing Wales & Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, and the Chair of the Welsh Chief Officer Group Chief Constable Carl Foulkes, call on people to stay home.
o The letter also makes clear that travelling to a second home does not ordinarily constitute essential travel, and that anyone leaving or remaining away from the place where they are living without a reasonable excuse is committing an offence.
- Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has today announced new arrangements to ensure people who are shielding or self-isolating can continue to get their prescription medicines in partnership with the National Pharmacy Association, Wales’ third sector organisations and Royal Mail.
- Following a refinement of the medical criteria for shielding, and in line with the other three nations, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales will this week send letters to further high risk patients advising them to shield.
o As a result, approximately 21,000 patients have been added to the Welsh Shielded Patient List (taking the number advised to shield in Wales to approximately 121,000).
- Public Health Wales has today reported a further 145 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10,669 – the actual number of cases in Wales will be higher.
o Very sadly, it is reporting a further 26 deaths today, bringing the total number of deaths in people with confirmed coronavirus reported by Public Health Wales to 1,023.
- Accessing school and community-based counselling: coronavirus
o This guidance contains contact details for accessing school and community-based counselling
- School admission appeals: coronavirus (COVID-19)
o This guidance explains the school admission appeals process during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Guidance on holding and attending funerals during the coronavirus pandemic.
UPDATE 05 May 2020
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams has published a policy statement outlining what the Welsh Government is doing to support universities and students dealing with the impact of coronavirus.
- Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans has announced that an extra £248,000 will be available to local authorities across Wales to help strengthen their cyber resilience in response to the coronavirus crisis.
- To help to maintain high standards of cyber security during this particularly challenging time, the Welsh Government has brought forward its cyber funding plans to support our local authorities.
- Each local authority in Wales will receive an initial grant of £9,000 to help address their priority needs, with the option to apply for additional money from a £50,000 reserve fund.
- Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has thanked independent food and drink sellers who have kept local supply chains flowing and supported NHS staff during the ongoing pandemic.
- Public Health Wales has today reported a further 195 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10,524 – the actual number of cases in Wales will be higher.
- Very sadly, it is reporting a further 14 deaths today, bringing the total number of deaths in people with confirmed coronavirus reported by Public Health Wales to 997.
UPDATE 02 May 2020
All residents and staff in care homes with outbreaks of coronavirus will be tested for the virus, the Welsh Government has announced today
o The move comes as the latest scientific evidence shows testing should be extended in care homes to manage outbreaks
- More than 11,000 face shields have been rapidly produced for hospitals and NHS staff working in South and West Wales.
o The Amman Valley MakerSpace (AVMS) scheme, which provides community access to new technologies, laser cutting and 3D printing equipment, teamed up with Dr Dimitrios Pletsas, of Swansea University, who helped to design the face shields.
- Public Health Wales has today reported a further 183 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10,155 – the actual number of cases in Wales will be higher.
o Very sadly, it is reporting a further 44 deaths today, bringing the total number of deaths in people with confirmed coronavirus reported by Public Health Wales to 969.
- 11 coronavirus research studies are ongoing across Wales, with more being set up. They are looking at treatments for coronavirus, identifying risk factors and specific genes which may indicate susceptibility for severe disease.
o The studies have been set up through Health and Care Research Wales:https://www.healthandcareresearch.gov.wales/news////wales-plays-key-role-in-urgent-covid-19-research/?force=1
- The impact of coronavirus on projects supported by EU structural funds is set out in a comprehensive Q&A briefing at https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-05/coronavirus-covid-19-european-structural-funds-supported-projects_0.pdf
- Guidance for local authorities and providers of supported accommodation is available athttps://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-local-authorities-and-providers-supported-accommodation-settings
UPDATE 01 May 2020
- The Welsh Government will fund a £500 extra payment for all social care workers in Wales, the First Minister announced today.
- Speaking at the daily Welsh Government press conference, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the payment provides further recognition for an often “under-valued and overlooked” workforce.
- The payment will be available to some 64,600 care home workers and domiciliary care workers throughout Wales.
- It comes after the Welsh Government has provided an initial £40m extra funding for adult social care services to help meet the extra costs associated with responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
- A second flight carrying fluid resistant gowns for use in the Welsh NHS and care services has arrived at Cardiff Airport from China.
- The order of 500,000 gowns was arranged through Welsh contacts and was the second flight carrying PPE to arrive at Cardiff Airport this week.
- A three-stage testing and rapid response plan to tackle care home coronavirus outbreaks is being implemented – it includes targeted testing in care homes experiencing coronavirus cases and larger homes at risk and new guidance to support enhanced cleaning and environmental measures. These are set out in an updated testing Q&A briefing, which is attached to this email.
- Five ways to help children and young people stay safe during the coronavirus lockdown https://gov.wales/five-ways-help-children-and-young-people-stay-safe-during-coronavirus-lockdown
- Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Julie Morgan has published a written statement about keeping vulnerable children safe https://gov.wales/written-statement-supporting-children-and-young-people-keeping-them-safe
- The First Minister, Education Minister Kirsty Williams and the Llywydd attended a session of the Youth Parliament of Wales on Thursday – this was an opportunity for members to share their concerns about the coronavirus pandemic directly with the Welsh Government https://gov.wales/welsh-youth-parliament-in-special-coronavirus-meeting-with-first-minister
- An extra £11m is being made available to help families facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Welsh Government is increasing the amount of funding for the Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF) so it can support the calls for financial help from people across Wales.
- Public Health Wales has today confirmed a further 160 cases of coronavirus in Wales bring the total number of confirmed cases to 9,972. The actual number of cases in Wales will be much higher.
- Very sadly a further 17 deaths have today been reported by Public Health Wales – the total number of deaths reported by Public Health Wales is now 925.
UPDATE 30 April 2020
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams has announced up to £3m support digitally excluded learners during the coronavirus pandemic.
- As part of the ‘Stay Safe. Stay Learning’ programme, the Welsh Government is working with local authorities to support digitally excluded learners during the current pandemic.
- The Chief Medical Officer Dr Frank Atherton and Chief Nursing Officer Jean White have written to the NHS to reiterate that DNACPR decisions must continue to be made on an individual basis according to need and individual wishes https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-04/joint-cmo-cno-letter-on-dnacpr.pdf
- Welsh Government premises are being used by the NHS to provide life-saving care and to support the national response to the coronavirus pandemic https://gov.wales/welsh-government-premises-repurposed-support-coronavirus-response
- Public Health Wales has today reported an additional 183 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 9,812. The actual number of cases in Wales will be much higher.
- Very sadly, there were a further 22 deaths of people with coronavirus reported by Public Health Wales, bringing the total number in Wales to 908.
- An updated Q&A briefing about PPE is attached to this email.
What to do if you have symptoms of coronavirus
- The symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature and a new, continuous cough.
- If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started.
- If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for seven days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.
- If you have coronavirus symptoms:
- Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
- Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home
- Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household.
- Ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser.
- If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after seven days, use the 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call 111. In a medical emergency dial 999.
- For more advice visit https://gov.wales/stay-home-guidance-households-possible-coronavirus
Where to find the latest information
- Public Health Wales provides a daily update about the number of cases of coronavirus in Wales. It is available at:https://phw.nhs.wales/news/public-health-wales-statement-on-novel-coronavirus-outbreak/
- Information about coronavirus is available on the Welsh Government’s website at https://gov.wales/coronavirus and https://llyw.cymru/coronafeirws
- Queries about support for businesses, including about eligibility for the Economic Resilience Fund? Visit the Business Wales website https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/
- If you can help the effort to produce PPE in Wales please visithttps://businesswales.gov.wales/news-and-blogs/news/provision-critical-equipment-and-personal-protection-equipment-ppe
- The Welsh Government holds a daily media briefing about coronavirus. These are on-the-record, on-camera and routinely supported by a BSL translator. They will be held at 12.30pm every week day. They are live-streamed on our @WelshGovernment Twitter channel and are broadcast live on BBC One Wales and S4C.
- The Counsel General held today’s press conference where he set out more details about this work – you can watch again at: https://twitter.com/WelshGovernment/status/1255459833286930432
- An email address has been set up for people to share their ideas about the future: [email protected] and[email protected]
- Public Health Wales has today reported a further 117 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number to 9,629 – the actual number is likely to be higher.
- Two new drive-through testing centres and an online booking service will start in Wales this week.
- The testing centre in Builder Street, Llandudno opened today and the centre in the Showground, Carmarthen will open tomorrow. Both will offer a self-swab test for critical workers by appointment.
- From Thursday, the new web-based booking system will be available for those booking a test at the Cardiff and Newport drive-through testing centres. The new system will be rolled-out to other parts of Wales.
- Half a billion pounds of business relief grants have reached 41,000 small businesses in Wales in the space of just a few weeks.
- Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates and Finance Minister Rebecca Evans today thanked local authorities throughout Wales for their hard work to swiftly process grant payments, ensuring small businesses receive speedy help to deal with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- https://gov.wales/more-500-million-support-reaches-welsh-businessesVery sadly a further 73 deaths have been recorded today – this includes previously unreported deaths from the Hywel Dda University Health Board area – bringing the total number reported by Public Health Wales to 886.https://gov.wales/written-statement-covid-19-preparing-recoveryThe Chief Medical Officer Dr Frank Atherton held today’s press conference – you can watch again at
- Two new drive-through testing centres and an online booking service will start in Wales this week.
- Public Health Wales has today reported a further 117 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number to 9,629 – the actual number is likely to be higher.
UPDATE 29 April 2020
Counsel General and Minister for European Transition Jeremy Miles will lead the Welsh Government’s work to plan the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic
- The Queen will send a message to the nation as part of the new arrangements to celebrate VE Dayhttps://www.gov.uk/government/news/her-majesty-the-queen-to-send-a-message-to-the-nation-to-mark-75th-anniversary-of-ve-day
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has announced £10m to fund new and enhanced home care packages to support patients to leave hospital for their ongoing assessment and recoveryhttps://gov.wales/ps10m-support-recovered-coronavirus-patients-back-home
- An update about critical care and ventilator capacity is available at https://gov.wales/written-statement-covid-19-update-critical-care-capacity-and-ventilation
- Three small Welsh manufacturing businesses are joining the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) by producing scrubs for Wales’ healthcare heroes, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters has announced.
- A Clydach firm which specialises in the production of flags for films, TV, festivals, and castles among other uses, and two independent seamstresses, from Swansea and Carmarthen, will all be making vital supplies to support the NHS in Wales.
- Work is under way at Red Dragon Flagmakers, which has already received fabric, while seamstresses Tesni Owen and Bethan Jones Boutique are set to start producing scrubs this week.
UPDATE 28 April 2020
- Vital supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health and care workers in Wales will today (Tuesday April 28) be flown into Cardiff Airport.
- A chartered flight carrying 200,000 fluid resistant gowns will arrive from Cambodia. Today’s flight has been arranged through Welsh contacts and is the first of two due to arrive this week, which will replenish vital supplies of gowns for the NHS and social care staff in Wales.
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams has set out her five key principles which will determine how education will be phased in at schools in Wales.
- Ahead of her appearance at the Children, Young People and Education Committee, the Minister will explain her plans for a phased approach in allowing more pupils to return to school.
- Schools are currently only open to children of critical workers and vulnerable children, with many local authorities adopting a hub approach rather than opening all schools in their area.
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething today published a written statement about the reporting mechanism for deaths between health boards in Wales and Public Health Wales following a rapid assurance review by the Welsh Government.
- ONS has today published its weekly statistical bulletin about the number of coronavirus deaths in England and Wales. In the week to April 17, there were provisionally 409 deaths involving coronavirus in Welsh residents, out of a total of 1,169 deaths. The number of coronavirus deaths registered in the week was 105 higher than in the previous week, and accounted for one third of all deaths.
- ONS uses a different dataset than Public Health Wales and there is a time lag in the reporting of its figures.
- Public Health Wales today reported a further 232 confirmed cases of coronavirus today. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus now stands at 9,512 – the actual number is likely to be much higher.
- Very sadly, Public Health Wales has reported a further 17 people have died after contracting coronavirus. Public Health Wales has report 813 deaths.
UPDATE 27 April 2020
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has today confirmed financial support of £60,000 will be provided to an eligible beneficiary of frontline staff working in the NHS and social care, if they die in service as a result of Covid-19.
- The scheme will see eligible beneficiaries receive a one off sum of £60,000 and will apply particularly to those working in frontline roles and locations where personal care is provided to individuals who may have contracted coronavirus.
- The scheme is non-contributory and there are no additional costs to employers. The payment will be made in addition to any existing benefits already earned through existing pension scheme membership.
- Swansea University has successfully won funding to reduce the time it takes to sanitise ambulances after carrying a suspected Covid-19 positive patient.
- Students from the university are helping slash the time it takes to clean an ambulance from 45 minutes to under 20 minutes
- A series of coronavirus related statistics have been published by the Welsh Government covering:
- Education and skills
- Health and social care
- A quick guide to public rights of way and access land closures is available at https://gov.wales/public-rights-way-and-access-land-closures
- Public Health Wales has today reported a further 203 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of cases to 9,280.
- Very sadly, it has also recorded a further eight deaths of people with confirmed coronavirus in Wales. The number of deaths recorded by Public Health Wales now stands at 796.
- The First Minister will be taking part in a one minute’s silence at 11am tomorrow, which is International Workers’ Memorial Day, to remember all those who have died in the pandemic and pay respect to all those caring for others.
- Further information about the minute’s silence is available at: https://www.tuc.org.uk/international-workers-memorial-day-iwmd
UPDATE 26 April 2020
Bereavement services in Wales have received extra funding of £72,000 from the Welsh Government to help them respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
o Cruse Bereavement Care Cymru has been awarded the funding to help it respond to an expected increase in demand over the coming months.
o As well as rising coronavirus-related death rates, Cruse is also expecting to see an increase in the complexity of people’s grief experiences because of the nature of the restrictions in place to slow the spread of the virus, which will require extra support.
- The latest figures published by Public Health Wales show there were a further 178 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales today, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 9,078 – the real number is likely to be far higher.
o Very sadly, a further 14 deaths of people with confirmed coronavirus were reported by Public Health Wales today, bringing the total to 788.
o Please note, the number of deaths reported by Public Health Wales will differ from those reported by ONS in its official statistics, which are published weekly as different datasets are used.
- All the legislation passed in Wales in relation to the coronavirus pandemic is available athttps://gov.wales/coronavirus-legislation
- Guidance for childcare providers has been published by the Welsh Government https://gov.wales/support-childcare-providers-coronavirus-covid-19
UPDATE 25 April 2020
Businesses and organisations which have successfully applied to Welsh Government’s £500m Economic Resilience Fund will start receiving grant payments by the end of next week, Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister Ken Skates has announced.
o Since it opened to applications a week ago, the fund has received almost 9,000 requests for support.
o The second phase of the Economic Resilience Fund will be paused at midday on Monday April 27.
- Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters has criticised the UK Government’s “short-sighted decision” not to include the UK’s second busiest roll-on roll-off ferry port in its rescue package for ferry services.
o The package excludes the Port of Holyhead and the vital route to Dublin.
- A packaging company in Ystrad Mynach has transformed its factory to produce a million face shields a week for the NHS in response to the First Minister’s call for Welsh businesses to help produce vital PPE.
o Read more about Transcend Packaging athttps://gov.wales/caerphilly-packaging-firm-make-million-face-shields
- The latest figures from Public Health Wales today show there were a further 299 confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 8,900 – the actual number will be much higher.
o Very sadly, there were a further 23 further deaths of people who had confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of reported deaths to Public Health Wales to 774.
UPDATE 24 April 2020
- First Minister Mark Drakeford has today published a framework to lead Wales out of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The framework will help to determine when the strict stay-at-home restrictions can begin to be relaxed in Wales and will help to find a way for people in Wales to live and work alongside coronavirus.
- A Wales-wide programme of surveillance, case identification, and contact tracing is being developed through the office of the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Frank Atherton. This will highlight the importance of community testing and support the containment of emerging coronavirus infections as and when restrictions are eased.
- The framework is available at: https://gov.wales/leading-wales-out-coronavirus-pandemic
- Following the first three-week review of the coronavirus regulations, some changes have been introduced:
- The Welsh Government is changing the core requirement for people not to leave the place where they live to a requirement not to leave or remain away from that place. This will help clarify that people who leave their home with a reasonable excuse – such as going out to shop for food, for healthcare or for work – cannot remain outside to do other things.
- The other changes include, applying the 2m physical distancing duty on premises used for “click and collect” style services – this duty is already in place for other workplaces, which remain open
- Widening the definition of vulnerable person to include other specific groups or conditions where people could benefit from assistance and to whom providing supplies is a reasonable excuse for another person to leave home (for example, people with dementia)
- Extending the physical distancing duty to cafés accessible by the public in hospitals, and those responsible for canteens in schools, prisons and for use by the armed forces, to ensure all reasonable measures are put in place.
- Staying at home guidance https://gov.wales/staying-home-and-away-others-guidance
- Guidance for businesses https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-closure-businesses-and-premises
- The latest figures from Public Health Wales show there were a further 243 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, increasing the total of confirmed cases to 8,601 – the actual number of cases is likely to be much higher.
- Very sadly, a further 110 deaths were reported in Wales, bringing the total number of deaths of people with coronavirus in Wales to 751.
- 84 of the deaths reported today were in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area – these deaths occurred between 20 March and 22 April and are being retrospectively reported.
- Watch an amazing time-lapse video of the Welsh Government-funded AMRC Cymru, in Broughton, North Wales being transformed produce 15,000 ventilators for the NHS as part of the Ventilator Challenge UK https://twitter.com/WelshGovernment/status/1253689023492694018
UPDATE 23 April 2020
- A rapidly-manufactured CPAP (RMCPAP) machine designed by Dr Rhys Thomas, a senior consultant at Glangwili Hospital and Maurice Clarke of Ammanford engineering firm CR Clarke and Co has been approved by the MHRA. The company will be working with businesses in Wales, including Panasonic, on an initial run of 80 devices for further testing.
- Two of Wales’ flagship cultural events have been provided financial support by the Welsh Government to help with the impact of coronavirus.
- The Eisteddfod Genedlaethol and Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod will share more than £800,000 to help with business continuity through 2020, including planning and preparation for the 2021 events.
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has published a weekly testing update: https://gov.wales/written-statement-weekly-update-covid-19-testing
- The First Minister has written a letter to everyone in Wales observing Ramadan this year https://gov.wales/ramadan-a-letter-from-the-first-minister-of-wales
- The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition Jeremy Miles will lead the Welsh Government’s work on preparing for recovery from coronavirus https://gov.wales/written-statement-covid-19-preparing-recovery
- Information about student support during the coronavirus pandemic https://gov.wales/higher-education-and-student-support-coronavirus
- The latest figures from Public Health Wales show there were 234 more confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total to 8,358 – the actual figure is like to be much higher.
- Very sadly, there were a further 17 reported deaths of people with coronavirus, bringing the total to 641 in Wales.
- The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has tackled more than 2,000 online scams, from sites posing as legitimate companies requesting personal information such as passwords or credit card details, to false online shops selling fraudulent coronavirus related items.
- Finance Minister Rebecca Evans is encouraging everyone to use the new national Suspicious Email Reporting Service at [email protected] to report crimes and follow advice and guidance set out by the NCSChttps://gov.wales/stay-home-stay-connected-stay-cyber-aware
UPDATE 22 April 2020
- Wales has become the first country in the UK to guarantee ongoing funding for children to continue to receive free school meals throughout the summer holidays in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams has confirmed each eligible child will receive the equivalent of £19.50 a week. With the support of the Welsh Local Government Association, the Welsh Government will make £33m available to help local authorities continue to provide free school meals.
- Local Government Minister Julie James has published the Local Authorities (Coronavirus) (Meetings) (Wales) Regulations 2020, which make temporary provision in relation to local authority meetings and for public and press access during the coronavirus pandemic.
- They provide flexibility to enable local authorities to operate safely, effectively and lawfully, while retaining the principles of openness and accountability to the public. This includes meetings to be conducted on the basis of full or partial remote attendance and by making provision about the electronic publishing of certain documents.
- They apply to principal councils and their executives, community councils, Swansea Bay Port Health Authority, National Park Authorities and Fire and Rescue Authorities across Wales.
- The regulations are available at:https://www.cynulliad.cymru/laid%20documents/sub-ld13142/sub-ld13142-e.pdf and the Minister’s statement is available at: https://gov.wales/written-statement-local-authorities-coronavirus-meetings-wales-regulations-2020
- Economy Minister Ken Skates has thanked staff working in contact centres across Wales https://gov.wales/contact-centres-providing-crucial-service-during-coronavirus-crisis
- The Public Health Wales figures show there were a further 274 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total to 8,124 – the actual number is likely to be much higher.
- Very sadly, there were a further 15 deaths reported, making a total of 624 in Wales to date.
- NHS Wales chief executive Dr Andrew Goodall has told health boards to continue providing urgent and emergency cancer treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Guidance to help health boards plan and deliver cancer services is available at: https://gov.wales/cancer-services-wales-during-covid-19
- Advice about ensuring people get sufficient vitamin D while the stay-at-home rules are in place is attached to this email.
- Transport and travel advice is available at:https://gov.wales/travel-and-transport-advice
UPDATE 21 April 2020
- Wales will become the first part of the UK to make a new once-a-month injection for recovering heroin addicts routinely available.
- The new service will replace daily oral medication services to support recovering addicts, helping to relieve pressure on pharmacy and NHS services during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has announced an investigation into why coronavirus is having a disproportionate impact on people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
- Wales will also participate in a formal review by Public Health England and NHS England commissioned by the UK Department for Health and Social Care into the apparently higher level of mortality among people from BAME backgrounds from coronavirus.
- The latest figures from Public Health Wales show there were a further 304 confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 7,850 – the actual number is likely to be far higher.
- Very sadly, a further 25 deaths of people with coronavirus have been confirmed, bringing the total to 609.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today published statistics on provisional weekly deaths, including deaths involving COVID-19, for the week ending 10 April. During that week, there were provisionally 304 deaths involving COVID-19 registered in Welsh residents, out of a total of 928 deaths. The number of COVID-19 deaths registered in the week was more than double the previous week, and accounted for a third of all deaths.
- These figures are different to those published by Public Health Wales because of different reporting methods and timing.
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams has confirmed a moratorium on unconditional university offers remains in place in Wales until May 1.
- She also said, in an update about financial measures to support higher education, that she and HEFCW are examining proposals from Universities UK, supported by Universities Wales, about a temporary measure for stability in undergraduate student admissions and to re-profile Student Loans Company payments to institutions.
- The Welsh Government has published guidance for services working with people who perpetrate violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence (VAWDASV)https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-services-perpetrators-violence-against-women-domestic-abuse-and
- Chief Nursing Officer Jean White has written to all NHS Wales nurse directors and chief executives to update the guidance about arrangements for visiting people who do not have coronavirus while they are in hospital.
- Visiting should be allowed for one parent or guardian for paediatric inpatients and neonates; people receiving end-of-life care, with permission to visit secured in advance from the ward sister/charge nurse and if agreed, this should be one visitor at a time for a specified amount of time and women in labour should be allowed a birthing partner, from their household.
UPDATE 20 April 2020
- An extra £100m has been added to the Economic Resilience Fund as more than 6,000 applications were received from small businesses and social enterprises within 24 hours of the fund opening.
- The additional funding brings the grant fund element to £300m, which will support eligible microbusinesses, SMEs and large businesses of critical, social or economic importance to Wales with non-repayable grants.
- New e-learning resources aimed at helping workers furloughed as a result of coronavirus to learn new skills are now live, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates has announced.
- The newly launched, informal e-learning provision, available via the Working Wales website, is aimed at helping furloughed workers to improve their knowledge levels across a broad range of areas, while supporting their mental wellbeing and helping them to prepare for the future.
- https://gov.wales/online-training-for-furloughed-workforce-during-coronavirus-pandemic and https://llyw.cymru/hyfforddiant-ar-lein-ar-gyfer-y-gweithlu-ar-ffyrlo-yn-ystod-pandemig-y-coronafeirws
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams has published the policy statement Stay Safe. Stay Learning, which aims to support learners, leaders, governors, practitioners, parents and carers in dealing with the impact of coronavirus.
- The Minister launched the guidance on the day that marks the beginning of summer term making Wales the only UK nation to provide national guidance and tools in a coordinated way.
- Five ways Wales is leading the delivery of digital educationhttps://gov.wales/five-ways-wales-leading-way-delivering-digital-education-services
- A further 276 people have been confirmed to have coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 7,546 but the actual number of cases will be much higher.
- Sadly, there have been nine further deaths of people who had confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths to 584.
- Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig has been officially opened by the Prince of Wales and Wales rugby star Dr Jamie Roberts. It will be used as a step-up and step down hospital for people who are coming to the end of their coronavirus treatment and who need rehabilitation and support as part of their recovery. Some will also receive end-of-life palliative care at the new hospital.
- The temporary field hospital in the Principality Stadium is the largest of its kind in Wales and the second biggest in the UK. The first 300 beds have been made available in just 10 days.
- An updated Q&A about testing is attached to this email.
- Information about public views and behaviours during the coronavirus crisis for 19 March to 11 April has been published. This is taken from the IPSOS MORI poll and from a sample size of 600 people from Wales.
- The findings show perceptions of the threats posed by coronavirus remain stable. It continues to be seen to pose a greater threat to the country than to individuals. However the belief that someone close will be infected remains high
UPDATE 18 & 19 April 2020
Health Minister Vaughan Gething has published the review of testing Wales.
o The rapid review, which was ordered by the Health Minister on April 15, recommends technological solutions, military planning support and removing the cap on social worker referrals to speed up the system to ensure more critical workers are tested daily in Wales https://gov.wales/technology-and-military-part-plans-increase-testing-critical-workers-wales
o The Welsh Government has also published its critical worker testing policy outlining which workers will be tested and how.
o The review and testing policy is available at:https://gov.wales/review-testing-covid-19 and https://gov.wales/critical-workers-testing-policy-coronavirus-covid-19.
- Hospices in Wales will receive a three-month package of additional support worth up to £6.3m, recognising they rely on charitable fundraising for around two-thirds of their income and have experienced a short-fall in funding during the coronavirus outbreak https://gov.wales/minister-announces-ps63-million-hospices-wales-during-covid-19-outbreak
- The latest figures from Public Health Wales show there are 7,270 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, although the real number is likely to be much higher.
o Very sadly, the number of people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus now stands at 575.
- The Welsh Government and Welsh Fire and Rescue Services are warning people against using sky lanterns to show their support for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.
o The warning comes after a recent campaign was launched encouraging people to light sky lanterns to show support for the NHS.
- Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt has set out the sources of support for charities and the voluntary sectorhttps://gov.wales/welsh-government-boosts-support-valued-charities-and-third-sector-organisations-wales
- Iconic Welsh whisky and spirits brand Penderyn is diverting its expert distillers to produce much-needed hand sanitiser for the NHS in Wales.
o As a result of the demand for hand sanitiser gels and liquids Penderyn is producing hand sanitiser liquid with an 80% alcohol strength.
- Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has welcomed the temporary suspension of competition laws to support the dairy sector during the coronavirus pandemic.
o The dairy sector has felt an immediate impact from the closure of the food services sector and the realignment of the supply chain and market prices.
o The temporary easing of the competition laws, which applies across the whole of the UK, will enable greater collaboration so the dairy sector, including farmers and processors, can work closer to solve the issues it is facing.
- Bevan Commissioner Sir Paul Williams, a former NHS Trust chief executive and director general for health and social services in the Welsh Government, has published an article about whether the coronavirus pandemic could provide an “unprecedented opportunity” to transform health and care services in Wales www.bevancommission.org/en/blog.htm?id=23
UPDATE 17 April 2020
Minister for Economy, Transport & North Wales, Ken Skates has announced that applications can now be made for support from the second phase of the Welsh Government’s £500 million Economic Resilience Fund.
o The Minister has released detailed information last week about this tranche of the fund, worth £200 million, including eligibility criteria for businesses and charities to enable them to prepare to apply.
o This phase is targeted at microbusinesses, SMEs and large businesses of critical social or economic importance to Wales.
o Applications can be made through the Business Wales websitehttps://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/
- Minister for Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has launched a new online service, which will match employers with jobseekers looking for agricultural, land and veterinary work during the COVID-19 outbreak.
o The service will put potential employees, with the relevant skills and experience, in touch with businesses to ensure vacancies are filled in the coming months, addressing any potential labour shortages in the sector caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
o Skills matching forms are easy to complete and can be completed online at https://www.wales.lantra.co.uk/
- Information published by Public Health Wales today shows there are 244 new cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 6,645, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
o Very sadly there were a further 11 deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 506.
- Guidance for local authorities on holiday accommodation: coronavirus
- Guidance for tenants in the private rented sector: coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Guidance for landlords and managing agents in the private rented sector: coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Yesterday, the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, confirmed that the lockdown measures will continue for a further three weeks.
o You can watch the First Minister’s video announcement here:https://twitter.com/fmwales/status/1250819934973841411?s=20 while the full statement is available here:https://gov.wales/first-minister-of-wales-statement-on-coronavirus-lockdown-extension
UPDATE 16 April 2020
- The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, has confirmed that the lockdown measures will continue for a further three weeks.
- You can watch the First Minister’s video announcement here:https://twitter.com/fmwales/status/1250819934973841411?s=20 while the full statement is available here:https://gov.wales/first-minister-of-wales-statement-on-coronavirus-lockdown-extension
- The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, has announced that a free mental health support service for doctors is to be expanded to provide support and advice for all front-line NHS Wales staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Welsh Government is providing an additional £1m to support the Health for Health Professionals Wales service to employ more psychiatrists and medical advisers, run more counselling sessions and conduct further PTSD interventions.
- The Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, has announced £1.25m to provide additional mental health support for children who may be experiencing increased stress or anxiety as a result of the international coronavirus outbreak.
- The funding will be provided for school counselling services to deal with an anticipated increase in demand since the start of the pandemic.
- The Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams has confirmed that the 2020 Wales results day for AS & A level students, and for GCSE students, will be as originally scheduled.
- This means that Wales, Northern Ireland and England will share the results days of 13 August for AS & A Level and 20th August for GCSE.
- The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, has emphasised that specialist domestic abuse services in Wales are open and available to help those facing increased risk from domestic violence and abuse during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters has revealed that crucial work to produce much needed medical scrubs for the NHS is under way at 3 sites across Wales.
- Information published by Public Health Wales today shows there are 284 new cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 6,401, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Very sadly there were a further 32 deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 495.
- Guidance for third sector organisations in receipt of Welsh Government grants during the disruption caused by COVID-19.
UPDATE 15 April 2020
- The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffith has announced a new grant to support fishing businesses during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- The new grant will help cover fixed costs associated with owning a fishing vessel and will be based on the size of vessel owned. The grant will be calculated by vessel size, with a maximum payment of £10,000 to ensure synergies with the Economic Resilience Fund.
- The grant will be open to all active seafood businesses with Welsh-licenced vessels and recorded sales of £10,000 or more in 2019, and all eligible fishers will be provided with a one off payment.
- Flexicare Medical Limited, in Mountain Ash, is increasing production of lifesaving devices such as ventilator breathing systems, humidifiers, and resuscitators to support the NHS.
- Information published by Public Health Wales today shows there are 272 new cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 6,118, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Very sadly there were a further 60 deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 463.
- The Welsh Government has published guidance for local authorities on enforcing standards in rented properties during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- This set out how local authorities will inspect and take action on unsafe rented private properties.
- Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for pet owners (published 14 April):
- Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on the prioritisation of waste and recycling collection services:
UPDATE 14 April 2020
- Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething, has today (14 April) announced an extra £40m to support adult social care services during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The funding will help meet the increased costs of basic PPE, food, staffing costs and ICT, which are being incurred by adult social services. It comes from the £1.1bn fighting fund created by the Welsh Government to support public services to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has met industry representatives from Wales’ farming, fishing, forestry, environment and food and drink sectors to discuss the challenges they face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The Minister thanked them for their vital role in helping feed the nation and protecting our natural environment, and will outline what the Government is doing to support the sectors during the pandemic.
- The roundtable meeting was held digitally for the first time.
- Information published by Public Health Wales today shows there are 238 new cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 5,848, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Very sadly there were a further 19 deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 403.
- ONS has today published its statistics on weekly provisional deaths, including deaths from coronavirus for the week ending 3 April 2020. During that week, there were provisionally 134 deaths involving coronavirus registered in Welsh residents, out of a total of 920 deaths.
- These figures are different to those published by Public Health Wales as these include all deaths in the community and any deaths where COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, including in combination with other health conditions (the Public Health Wales figures are those people who have tested positive for coronavirus).
- New supplementary guidance which supports the physical distancing duty for workplaces has been publishedhttps://gov.wales/taking-all-reasonable-measures-maintain-physical-distancing-workplace-supplementary-guidance
- Guidance for critical workers and parents of vulnerable children about how they can get help with childcare has been publishedhttps://gov.wales/coronavirus-childcare-under-five-year-olds-parents-guidance
- Social Care Wales has today launched a card for all social care workers to help them access the benefits available to critical workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The card has been produced in response to reports from social care workers who say it can be difficult to prove they are critical workers.
UPDATE 13 April 2020
Wales is playing a leading role in the UK programme for treating coronavirus patients using a blood donation product taken from people who have recovered from the virus, called ‘convalescent plasma’.
o Plasma has been used daily in NHS Wales for a variety of needs for many years. Coronavirus convalescent plasma will help patients develop immunity as it ‘transfuses’ antibodies against the virus, helping the receiving individual fight infection.
o Recovered patients are being invited by letter, if eligible, to donate blood to the scheme. The Welsh Blood Service, Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and University Hospital of Wales are now working with partners across the UK to share knowledge, procedures, best practice and learning.
- People in Wales are being urged to use a coronavirus symptom tracker to boost understanding of the virus, track its progress and help the NHS in Wales to prepare.
o More than 38,000 people in Wales have already used the Covid Symptom Tracker App developed by King’s College London and ZOE.
o The Welsh Government, NHS Wales and the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank at Swansea University are collaborating with King’s College London and healthcare science company ZOE to use the data from the app to track the progress of the virus in Wales
o The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play from the links atwww.covid.joinzoe.com. Daily symptom maps and other content are available viahttps://covid.joinzoe.com/blog
- Digital appointments are being rolled out into hospitals and community care across Wales.
o The Welsh Government is investing £2.8m to give community nurses, community mental health teams, health visitors, community midwives, hospital outpatient clinics and diabetes clinics access to the technology, which is already available to all GP practices in Wales.
- There are now 5,610 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
o The number of deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus in Wales now stands at 384.
- The Welsh Government has published the Ethical Values and Principles for Healthcare Delivery Framework, which provides guidance for healthcare services when making decisions during the coronavirus outbreak.
o It sets out the core values of equal concern and respect, which should underpin all decision-making
- The briefing about personal assistants has been updated – it contains an updated link to expanded Public Health Wales guidance about PPE for social care
NOTE: NO UPDATE EASTER WEEKEND 11 & 12 April 2020
UPDATE 10 April 2020
Further details about support from the Welsh Government’s new £500m Economic Resilience Fund has been published today.
o Economy Minister Ken Skates has set out information about the fund, including eligibility criteria for businesses and charities to enable them to prepare to apply.
o The fund will provide additional financial support during the coronavirus pandemic and will help organisations to manage cash flow pressures. It will help to address gaps not met by schemes already announced by the UK Government, Welsh Government and Development Bank of Wales.
- A further 502 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 4,591, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
o Very sadly another 29 people who had tested positive for coronavirus have died, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 315.
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams has published an open letter to people working with children with special needshttps://gov.wales/coronavirus-letter-our-special-educational-needs-workforce
o A Q&A about vulnerable children and coronavirus is available athttps://gov.wales/vulnerable-children-and-young-people-coronavirus
- A briefing about end-of-life and palliative care and making do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions is attached to this email
- A briefing about personal assistants is attached to this email
- A Q&A about the extremely vulnerable group, which has been asked to undertake shielding measures, is available athttps://gov.wales/cmo-letter-extremely-vulnerable-people-support-explained
o This includes information about why certain conditions are not included on this list
UPDATE 09 April 2020
An unprecedented letter from First Minister Mark Drakeford and signed by Wales’ emergency and health services and council leaders, calls on the Welsh population to stay at home and save lives over the Easter bank holiday weekend.
o Health Minister Vaughan Gething and Chief Medical Officer Frank Atherton join the NHS, the police, fire and ambulance services, charities, councils and voluntary organisations as signatories to the letter to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
o A copy of the letter is attached to this email and is also available at https://gov.wales/first-minister-and-wales-emergency-services-call-on-people-of-wales-to-stay-home-to-save-lives-this-easter
- The Minister and Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething and Julie Morgan, have written to the social care workforce to thank them for their incredible work during this difficult time https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-04/minister-and-deputy-minister-for-health-and-social-services-letter-to-social-care-staff.pdf
- Caerphilly Castle will be lit up in blue with the word “diolch” and a heart on Thursday nights from 8pm in recognition of the work our NHS and social care staff.
- Public Health Wales today reported an extra 16 new cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 4,089, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
o Today’s figures reflect a much shorter period of six hours of testing. The case numbers will return to normal on Friday, as Public Health Wales returns to 24 hour reporting.
o Very sadly, there were 41 further deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 286.
- Comprehensive information about the support available for tenants in Wales is available athttps://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-04/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-tenants-in-wales.pdf
o The briefing includes information about benefits, support with rent and bill payments and debt
- Guidance has also been provided to local authorities, registered social landlords and care and repair agencies about housing adaptations https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-to-care-and-repair-agencies-local-authorities-and-registered-social-landlords-providing-housing-adaptations https://llyw.cymru/coronafirws-covid-19-canllawiau-i-asiantaethau-gofal-a-thrwsio-awdurdodau-lleol-a-landlordiaid-cymdeithasol-cofrestredig-syn-darparu-addasiadau-i-dai
- New guidance for people who own holiday accommodation has been published https://gov.wales/guidance-note-holiday-accommodation-owners-health-protection-coronavirus-restrictions-wales
- The Welsh Government has confirmed it will be temporarily be suspending the 5p charge for single-use carrier bags used for supermarket food deliveries for three months https://gov.wales/single-use-carrier-bags-charge-wales-amendment-regulations-2020
UPDATE 08 April 2020
- Businesses and universities across Wales are responding to a nationwide call for action to help supply the NHS and social care with vital equipment to support staff.
- A Welsh company which puts colour in plastics for some of the world’s biggest brands has switched its focus to helping manufacture ventilator and respirator parts for the NHS and coronavirus testing kits. Performance Masterbatches Ltd in Blaenau Gwent, which makes the colour for the Nescafe Gold Blend lids and also counts Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover and Honda among its customers, has invested in new processes to help address the coronavirus pandemic, with around 20% of its entire production line now dedicated to supporting the NHS. https://gov.wales/welsh-plastics-company-which-works-global-brands-now-making-ventilators-and-coronavirus-covid-19
- Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates has urged more to companies to join the effort.https://gov.wales/economy-minister-praises-businesses-helping-coronavirus-fight
- Companies which can help with PPE should visithttps://gov.wales/provision-of-personal-protection-equipment
- First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed the stay-at-home rules will continue into apply in Wales next week. He made the announcement during the virtual Plenary meeting this afternoon
- More than 1,500 applications for loan support have been made to the Development Bank of Wales
- The £100m loan scheme, which is now fully subscribed, was one element of the Economic Resilience Fund announced last week by the First Minister
- ONS has published its weekly release about coronavirus deaths for the week ending March 27
- During that week, there were provisionally 21 deaths involving COVID-19 registered in Welsh residents, out of a total of 719 deaths.
- Please note the ONS figures are different to those published by Public Health Wales (this email carried a more detailed note about the ONS figures and the differences, when the figures were first published last week)
- 284 more cases of coronavirus in Wales have been confirmed, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 4,073, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Very sadly, a further 33 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 245.
UPDATE 07 April 2020
- The 2m rule came into force in Wales at midnight.
- It requires all workplaces, which remain open to take all reasonable measures to maintain 2m distance between people in the workplace.
- Guidance is available at: https://gov.wales/taking-all-reasonable-measures-maintain-physical-distancing-workplace
- A Q&A briefing is attached to this email
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has provided an update about Wales’ coronavirus testing plan: https://gov.wales/written-statement-coronavirus-covid-19-testing-update
- There were 291 new cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3,790, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Sadly, a further 19 further deaths have been reported of people who had tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 212.
- Deputy Minister for Health and Social Service Julie Morgan has written an open letter to older people in Waleshttps://gov.wales/letter-deputy-minister-health-and-social-services-julie-morgan
- Professor Baroness Finlay of Llandaff has published advice to help support people who are caring for someone who is dying at home from a coronavirus infection. The guidance is available athttp://www.bevancommission.org/en/publications?id=60
- Information about indemnity cover for NHS professionals is available at https://gov.wales/covid-19-nhs-wales-indemnity
- Public Health Wales is publishing a daily dashboard of data about coronavirus cases across Wales, broken down by health board and local authority area. The interactive dashboard is available at https://public.tableau.com/profile/public.health.wales.health.protection#!/vizhome/RapidCOVID-19virology-Public/Headlinesummary
UPDATE 06 April 2020
- Parents doing jobs critical to Wales’ response to coronavirus will get free childcare during the pandemic.
- The Welsh Government is launching a coronavirus childcare assistance scheme to support Wales’ critical workers.
- Under the new plans, councils will be able to use funding from the Welsh Government’s Childcare Offer to support registered childcare providers to care for pre-school-aged children of critical workers. Children who are considered vulnerable will also be included in the scheme.
- First Minister Mark Drakeford will be holding an #AskFMWales people’s Q&A on Wednesday evening. If a member of the public has a question for him about coronavirus, please send it to @FMWales using the hashtag on Twitter or by commenting on the Welsh Government post about the Q&A on Facebook. We will be taking video questions from members of the public.
- A Q&A briefing about shielding and the extremely vulnerable group is attached to this email update.
- Businesses have received almost £150m in support grants in the first week of the business support scheme. Almost 11,000 firms have received funding which will be vital in helping them deal with the impact of the virus.
- First Minister Mark Drakeford today thanked local authorities for their help making the grants quickly available to small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt has set out the support available for the voluntary sectorhttps://gov.wales/written-statement-coronavirus-covid-19-support-third-sector-and-volunteering
- A further 302 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3,499, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Sadly, 27 further deaths have been reported of people who had tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 193.
UPDATE 05 April 2020
Health Minister Vaughan Gething has set out how NHS Wales is rapidly increasing capacity to respond to an expected increase in people needing care and treatment for coronavirus.
o Up to 7,000 extra hospital beds are being created by NHS Wales; critical care capacity has more than doubled across Wales and 1,000 new ventilators are on order.
o The plans have been bolstered by a massive response from recently retired NHS staff ready to return to work – 1,300 healthcare professionals have already responded and 1,200 registered GP locums are preparing to enter the NHS Wales workforce. They will be supported by thousands of trainees.
- A Q&A briefing about testing is attached to this email
- The Welsh Government today confirmed funding for specialist services supporting survivors of domestic violence and abuse during the coronavirus pandemic.
o Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt has also urged people to look out for each other to help those who may be at risk of domestic violence https://gov.wales/welsh-government-supports-survivors-domestic-abuse-during-coronavirus
- A further 355 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Wales, bringing the total number of cases to 3,197, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher. Sadly, there were another 12 deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the number of deaths in Wales to 166.
UPDATE 04 April 2020
- New rules to protect workers during the coronavirus outbreak will come into force on Tuesday morning, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed https://gov.wales/two-metre-rule-will-protect-workers-wales-coronavirus
- New guidance for people arranging and attending funerals has been published
- The rules previously meant only close family could attend a funeral – the new rules mean the 2m rule must be observed at all times, which will place a limit on the maximum number of people who can attend a funeral.
- The guidance is available at https://gov.wales/attending-funerals-during-coronavirus-pandemic
- Housing Minister Julie James has written an open letter to all social housing tenants in Waleshttps://gov.wales/sites/default/files/inline-documents/2020-04/letter-to-all-social-housing-tenants-in-wales.pdf
- There were 387 new cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,853, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Sadly, there have been a further 13 further deaths of people who have tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 154.
UPDATE 03 April 2020
- First Minister Mark Drakeford has issued a call to action for Welsh businesses to create a new Welsh supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to support NHS and social care staff.
- Many Welsh companies and universities are directly engaged in addressing specific challenges relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The First Minister has called on those willing and able to come forward to create a new made-in-Wales supply chain for PPE.
- The AMRC Cymru is one of several key sites around the UK to host the rapid manufacturing of ventilators as part of a consortium of businesses under the VentilatorChallengeUK initiative.
- Building on a UK-wide effort, manufacturing will begin in early April at the Welsh Government-owned facility at Broughton, in North Wales, which is managed by the University of Sheffield’s renowned Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).
- The VentilatorChallengeUK consortium includes AMRC Cymru anchor tenant Airbus, together with BAE systems, Rolls Royce, GKN Aerospace and Siemens UK https://gov.wales/amrc-cymru-be-part-ventilator-challenge-effort
- The first food boxes are being delivered to people who have been asked to take shielding measures because they are extremely vulnerable to serious illness if they are exposed to coronavirus.
- A weekly free food box is available to those people who are shielding who do not have support from family or friends nearby.
- Transport Minister Ken Skates has said the Welsh Government will provide finance to Cardiff Airport, through varying its existing agreed commercial loan facility, to support its reduced operations and to maintain solvency.
- He also called on the UK Government to develop arrangements to enable Cardiff Airport to receive additional state support as compensation for the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Qualifications Wales has published a statement about how students will be graded this yearhttps://www.qualificationswales.org/english/coronavirus—covid-19/
- A further 345 new cases have tested positive for coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,466, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Sadly, a further 24 further deaths have been reported of people who had tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 141.
UPDATE 02 April 2020
- New UK-wide guidance has today been published about the use of personal protective equipment for NHS and social care staff
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething’s statement: https://gov.wales/written-statement-statement-ppe-guidance
- An updated Q&A about PPE, including the revised guidance is attached to this email
- The new guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control
- All GP practices in Wales can now access a new system, which allows people to have online appointments with their doctor and other healthcare professionals.
- The Welsh Government and TEC Cymru have rolled out the new video consultation service for all GPs in Wales in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It has been successfully tested in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.
- A package of funds worth £18m will support the creative industries, culture and sport sectors, safeguarding businesses and jobs.
- The funding is being made available by the Welsh Government, the Arts Council for Wales and Sport Wales. It includes:
- £7m Arts Resilience Fund led by the Arts Council of Wales.
- £8m Sport Resilience Fund led by Sport Wales.
- £1m Creative Wales fund
- £1m Cultural Resilience Fund
- £750k Emergency Relief Fund administered by the Welsh Museums Federation and Sport Wales.
- £250k Digital Library Resources
- The funding is being made available by the Welsh Government, the Arts Council for Wales and Sport Wales. It includes:
- Hannah Blythyn has written to all firefighters and fire control staff in Wales to thank them for their hard work.
- The Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government expressed the government’s full support and ongoing commitment to protecting the health and safety of firefighters and ensuring the service’s core role was maintained during this coronavirus pandemic by continuing to work in partnership with chief officers and senior management to identify and address any problems.
- There were 284 new cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,121, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Sadly, a further 19 people have died after testing tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 117
UPDATE 01 April 2020
- A series of emergency measures to support Welsh farmers during the coronavirus pandemic have been announced by Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths.
- Farmers will have an extra month to submit their Single Application Form (SAF), with the deadline extended to 15 June.
- The Welsh Government is removing the requirements for crop diversification for BPS 2020, in recognition of the recent flooding and the added pressure and uncertainties caused by coronavirus
- An additional £5.5m has been allocated to the BPS and Glastir 2019 support scheme which will re-open from today (April 1) to support farmers who are yet to receive their 2019 BPS and/or Glastir payments. Farmers will be able to apply for support through the scheme to alleviate potential cash flow problems.
- The Minister has also written to farming unions to thank them and their members for their work to help ensure the supply of food continues.
- Specialist services are available to help all those at increased risk of suffering domestic violence and abuse under the new stay-at-home rules to combat coronavirus.
- Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt has set out a range of measures to help those at risk, especially those who may find it hard to seek help if they are isolated at home with a violent or abusive partner.
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has confirmed women in Wales will have access to abortion services at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Women and girls will be prescribed two pills at home instead of going to a hospital or clinic, avoiding social contact and the unnecessary risk of exposure to coronavirus. This will follow a remote consultation with a medical practitioner via video link or telephone conference.https://gov.wales/wales-approves-home-abortions-during-coronavirus-crisis
- Support for supply teachers during the coronavirus outbreakhttps://gov.wales/coronavirus-support-supply-sector
- The First Minister has confirmed the Welsh Government’s legislative priorities in light of the coronavirus pandemic – the government will prioritise the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill and legislation to reform the curriculum in Wales. https://gov.wales/written-statement-governments-approach-legislation-light-covid-19
- There were a further 274 cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,837, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Very sadly, 29 further deaths have been reported of people who had tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 98.
UPDATE 31 March 2020
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has confirmed that hundreds of health and social care professionals will soon return to their previous careers to help tackle coronavirus.
- Last week, people who left health and social care jobs within the last three years were asked to join a temporary register to fulfil a range of clinical and non-clinical roles across the sectors.
- Up to 3,760 students from across Wales (medical, nursing, midwifery, allied healthcare professionals, paramedic and healthcare scientists) could also be available to work, on an opt-in basis, and their roles will depend on what stage they’re at with their training.
- 416 nurses and midwives have opted-in over the first week.
- More than 20% of allied healthcare professionals and scientists have also registered their interest.
- Almost 700 doctors have automatically been re-registered by the GMC in Wales.
- 348 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have been included on the temporary register and are yet to opt-out.
- Social Care Wales also issued 850 letters to former registrants.
- ONS has today published new provisional data about the number of deaths from coronavirus in England and Wales.
- This information covers all deaths mentioning coronavirus in England and Wales and in all settings – not just hospitals (the figures on deaths published by Public Health Wales – and reproduced in this update – are in hospitals)
- ONS has included in the count every death registered in the relevant week for which coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificate (whether as the underlying cause of death or not).
- It takes at least five days for most deaths to be certified by a doctor, registered and the data processed, so ONS figures are always slightly out of date.
- There were 108 death registrations involving COVID-19 up until 20 March 2020 – five in the week ending 13 March and 103 in week ending 20 March. During the week to March 20, there were provisionally two deaths involving COVID-19 registered in Welsh residents, out of a total of 719 deaths.
- There were 112 new cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,563, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Seven further deaths have been reported bringing the number of deaths in Wales to 69.
- The Life Sciences Hub Wales is working with industry to help boost the supply of goods and develop solutions which address the immediate needs of NHS Wales. It wants to work with companies to supply and develop medical devices, infection control products, AI and apps and products to combat social isolation and loneliness. https://lshubwales.com/call-industry-collaboration-fight-coronavirus
UPDATE 30 March 2020
- The Welsh Government has reprioritised its budgets to create a £1.1bn fighting fund to ensure Wales and public services in Wales can respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
- First Minister Mark Drakeford has today announced a new £500m fund to provide extra support to the Welsh economy, businesses and charities experiencing a sharp drop in trading as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Economic Resilience Fund aims to plug the gaps in the support schemes already announced by the UK Government, including the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which will guarantee 80% of people’s wages and income.
- The new Welsh fund will support firms of all sizes, including social enterprises, with a focus on those which have not already benefited from the coronavirus grants already announced by Welsh Government.
- The £500m fund is made up of two main elements:
- A new £100m Development Bank of Wales fund will be available for companies experiencing cash flow problems as a result of the pandemic and will provide loans of between £5,000 and £250,000 at favourable interest rates
- Businesses will also be able to benefit from a £400m emergency pot providing:
- Grants of £10,000 for micro-businesses employing up to nine people. This includes sole traders employing staff. Qualifying businesses will be able to apply by mid-April.
- Grants of up to £100,000 for small and medium sized firms with between 10 and 249 employees. Qualifying businesses will be able to apply from next week.
- Support for larger Welsh companies, which are of critical social or economic importance to Wales. This element will be open to qualifying businesses within the next two weeks.
- An updated Q&A about the various sources of support for businesses is attached to this email.
- Education Minister Kirsty Williams has written to higher education institutes in Wales about a range of issues from student finance and accommodation to overseas activity and support for staff https://gov.wales/letter-minister-education-kirsty-williams
- There are 210 new cases of coronavirus in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,451, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- 14 further deaths have been reported bringing the number of deaths in Wales to 62.
UPDATE 29 March 2020
- HEALTH: NHS staff will receive free travel on buses throughout Wales in return for hardship funding from the Welsh Government over the next three months, with free travel already available on Transport for Wales services, Transport Minister Ken Skates has announced.
- Transport for Wales will receive additional funding support and a coronavirus hardship fund has been set up to help bus companies as passenger numbers have fallen by up to 90% as passengers follow the stay-at-home rules in response to the pandemic.
- The combined support is worth up to £69m.https://gov.wales/nhs-staff-get-free-travel-part-69m-hardship-fund-deal-public-transport
- 148 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Wales, bringing the total number of cases to 1,241, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- 10 more deaths have been reported in people who had tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 48.
- From Tuesday, a free weekly food box will be available to the 75,000 people who have been asked to take shielding measures, including staying at home for at least 12 weeks. Each free box will provide essential food for one person for a week, and will be delivered weekly. If more than one person in the household is shielding, they will also receive food. https://gov.wales/get-coronavirus-support-extremely-vulnerable-person
- TOURISM: Guidance for people running holiday accommodation has been published by the Welsh Government. It covers hotel, guest and self-catering accommodation.https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-03/coronavirus-guidance-for-holiday-accommodation-businesses.pdf
UPDATE 28 March 2020
- PPE: A four-nation rapid review of the current guidance about the use of personal protective equipment is being carried out. It will also examine issues with supply in parts of the UK.
- 3.4m items of PPE had been issued from Wales’ pandemic flu stock – in addition to the normal supplies.
- Wales’ chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton said: “The guidance is clear PPE should be used when dealing with people who have or are suspected to have COVID-19. The current guidelines about what PPE is needed differs by setting and procedure. It is essential those who need PPE have access to it but we should not use it unnecessarily in order to avoid wastage and to ensure we have sufficient stocks as the coronavirus pandemic progresses.
- “For many critical workers, including staff in some healthcare settings – those who are not dealing directly with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 – standard good practice, which includes thorough hand washing and social distancing will protect people from the spread of the virus.
- “The health and wellbeing of our health and social care staff is our prime concern. It is vital they are protected and that they feel confident when working.”
- Attached to this email is a Q&A about PPE.
- TESTING: Health Minister Vaughan Gething has today announced plans to introduce a smart test to identify if people have had coronavirus in Wales – helping them get back to work.
- The new antibody blood test, which will be tested in the UK next week, will show if people have already had the virus and potentially if they have immunity.
- A new testing plan for Wales is being introduced, which will see a wider range of suppliers providing coronavirus testing kits to Wales, to ensure testing capacity can be increased.
- From next week, there will be capacity for 1,100 tests a day in Wales. By mid-April, up to 5,000 antigen tests (these are the tests which tell you if you have coronavirus or not) a day will be provided to people admitted to hospitals with suspected coronavirus, frontline NHS staff and people who are classed as extremely vulnerable. And a further 4,000 tests a day will be available to roll out antigen testing throughout Wales as part of a four-nation deal for the UK involving Thermo Fisher Scientific, Amazon, Boots, Royal Mail and Randox, which was announced by the UK Government yesterday.
- This is in addition to the roll out of the antibody test.
- HEALTH: Four further deaths have been reported, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 38.
- 172 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1,093, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Wales has been testing people in hospital with suspected coronavirus and frontline NHS staff for a while – see more here:https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2020-03/coronavirus-covid19-key-changes-to-testing-criteria.pdf
- EDUCATION: Education Minister Kirsty Williams has called on school staff to do what they can to keep schools open for NHS staff and carers during what would have been the Easter holidays.
- In a video message, she thanked all school staff who kept more than 700 schools open to support the immediate response to coronavirus before asking for help in what she described as a ‘time of national need’.
- She said: “It takes a community to raise a child and that statement has never been more true. In this time of national need, our school community has stepped up and met the challenge. I am now asking you to do more and keep schools open during what would have been school holidays. “
- VOLUNTEERING: The Welsh Government has announced an initial multi-million pound funding package to support volunteers and third sector groups.
- It includes £24m for Wales’ voluntary sector and £15m for direct delivery food scheme for Wales’ most vulnerablehttps://gov.wales/multi-million-pound-boost-to-support-volunteers-and-wales-most-vulnerable
- Volunteers can continue to register to support the coronavirus response at www.volunteering-wales.net
- Stay safe while volunteering https://gov.wales/volunteers-how-help-thank-you-and-stay-safe
UPDATE 27 March 2020
SUPPORT FOR SELF-EMPLOYED PEOPLE: Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister, Ken Skates, has responded to the Chancellor’s announcement this evening, saying:
“The Chancellor’s announcement this evening is to be warmly welcomed. It will provide huge relief for hundreds of thousands of people in Wales who are self-employed.
“Of course, details are emerging about how the scheme will operate and we will be looking very closely at what gaps there are that individuals may fall through.
“We will also be looking at how the cross-sector, cross-Government fund which we will be announcing as a matter of urgency in the coming days matches seamlessly with the support that’s been announced by the UK Government today for the self-employed and the Job Retention Scheme announced last week.”
HEALTH: The Welsh Government recognises that calls to the 111 service has increased significantly. It has therefore increased resources to respond to people’s calls but the service also need people’s help.
- We are asking everyone to use the NHS Direct Wales website and online coronavirus symptom checker first if they can (and if they need to).
- The symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature and a new and persistent cough. People with these symptoms do not have to register them with 111 or with their GP surgery, but they must self-isolate for seven days at the first sign of symptoms. People they live with should also stay at home for 14 days.
- If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after seven days, use the NHS Direct Wales online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, then people should call 111.
- Only in a medical emergency should people dial 999.
- Full advice is available at https://gov.wales/stay-home-guidance-households-possible-coronavirus
- VOLUNTEERING: The Welsh Government recently launched the ‘Looking out for each other campaign’ to help people who are staying at home because of coronavirus. The campaign focuses on the small things we can all do to help each other during the pandemic. See:https://gov.wales/first-minister-launches-looking-out-each-other-campaign-wales and https://gov.wales/safe-help
- The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt has thanked those who are volunteering to help communities face the coronavirus outbreak together. She said: “Wales has a strong tradition of people helping one another out, and we’ve really seen this in action over the past few weeks. From picking up the phone, to delivering supplies to people who are self-isolating, to helping our public services, there are lots of things that can be done. All of this helps local communities, and takes pressure off the NHS.
- Wales has had a system running for 2 weeks using a platform called Volunteering in Wales. It is run by the 19 County Voluntary Councils across the whole country. Volunteer details are being gathered and matched to local opportunities. See:https://volunteering-wales.net/vk/volunteers/index.htm
- The Wales Council for Voluntary Action has issued guidance on ‘Community response to Covid-19 – enabling safe and effective practice’ – see wcva.cymru.
UPDATE 26 March 2020
- LEGISLATION: New powers to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives have now come into force in Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed.The First Minister has signed into law new public health regulations strengthening police enforcement powers in Wales. Individuals will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
- Shopping for basic necessities and supplies, which should be as infrequently as possible;
- One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of their household;
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
- Travelling to and from work, but only where they cannot reasonably practicably work from home.
People should stay at least 2m away from each other at all times.
Participating in gatherings of more than two people in public spaces is also not permitted except in very limited circumstances, for example, where it is for essential work purposes. The police will have powers to enforce this.
If people do not comply with these new laws:
- They can be directed to return home or removed from where they are and returned home
- They may have to pay a fixed penalty notice of £30, which if not paid within 14 days will double to £60, and if they are issued with a second or subsequent notice the charge will be £120
Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the Regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.
If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them. However, in the first instance the police will always apply their common sense and discretion.
- UPDATE: 113 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 741, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher.
- Six further deaths have been reported, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 28.
- BUSINESS: Businesses will start receiving emergency coronavirus grants by the middle of next week, Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister Ken Skates confirmed today https://gov.wales/grants-start-reaching-businesses
- The Welsh Government is developing a further package of support for the business community to help it deal with the impact of the outbreak. Further details will be available on Monday.
- Last week, the Welsh Government announced a £1.4bn package of support for businesses in Wales, which included grants of £25,000 and £10,000 for businesses.
- Further information about how businesses can access this funding is available on the Business Wales website:https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice
- Sainsbury’s – issues have been raised with the Welsh Government about people in Wales who are classed as at-risk or vulnerable not being able to register for priority home deliveries with Sainsbury’s. This issue also affects Scotland and Northern Ireland and involves access to sensitive personal data. We have contacted Sainsbury’s to swiftly resolve this issue. We will provide further updates.
UPDATE 25 March 2020
- HEALTH: Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said further stocks of PPE from the pandemic stockpile are being released to frontline NHS and social care workers to reinforce the regular supply routes, which are under pressure.
- The equipment is for the use of frontline health and social care staff as they care for people with confirmed or suspected coronavirus.
- Additional supplies will be issued to GPs. Supplies have already been issued to all 715 pharmacies in Wales.
- Further information is available at. https://gov.wales/written-statement-personal-protective-equipment-ppe
- Five further deaths have been reported of people who had tested positive for coronavirus, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 22.
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has confirmed non-emergency patient transport services are focusing on hospital discharge to maximise the Welsh Ambulance Service’s emergency response to people in the community.
- RATES RELIEF: Finance Minister Rebecca Evans and Economy Minister Ken Skates have capped the 100% rates relief – it will not apply to the small number of properties in Wales with a rateable value of £500,000 and above. The relief will be focused firmly on supporting small and medium-sized businesses.
- This change will affect fewer than 200 properties across Wales but will release funding, which will be reinvested in an economic crisis fund to support those businesses, sole traders and self-employed people who are not receiving any other form of support. Further details about the fund will be available shortly.
- Further details about the change are available at:https://gov.wales/written-statement-response-covid-19-economic-crisis
- HOUSING: Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James has confirmed an initial tranche of £30m for local government. This includes £7m to support local authorities to help families of pupils who rely on free school meals and £10m to put in place urgent arrangements to protect people who are homeless or rough sleeping. More details are available at:https://gov.wales/written-statement-coronavirus-and-local-government
- TRANSPORT: Vehicle owners to be granted MOT exemption in battle against coronavirus. Temporary exemption will enable vital services to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people to get essential food and medicine.
- cars, motorcycles and vans to be granted MoT exemption
- this will allow people to carry on with essential travel
- vehicles must be kept in roadworthy condition
- Vehicle owners will be granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing, enabling them to continue to travel to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home, or shop for necessities. All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require an MOT test will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March 2020. Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.
UPDATE 24 March 2020
The Welsh Government have published further guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable.
This guidance is for people, including children, who are at very high risk of developing serious illness if they are exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) because they have a particular serious underlying health condition (these are listed below). It is also for their families, friends and carers. The guidance is for use by people in their own home, or in long-term care facilities, for the elderly, or for people with special needs.
The guidance is available here: https://gov.wales/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-people-defined-on-medical-grounds-as-extremely-vulnerable-from-coronavirus-covid-19-html
What do we mean by ‘extremely vulnerable’?
People in this group include:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- People with specific cancers:
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- People with severe single organ disease (e.g. Liver, Cardio, Renal, Neurological).
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), homozygous sickle cell).
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
- People who are pregnant and children up to the age of 18 with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
HEALTH: New, tougher measures to control the spread of coronavirus have been introduced. The message is simple – Stay at home to save lives
- Work at home if you can and do not travel unless absolutely necessary
- You should continue to go to medical appointments but only leave the house to exercise once a day and to shop for food.
- High street shops are closed.
- The guidance is available at https://gov.wales/full-guidance-staying-home-and-away-others
- A video message from the FM is available at: https://twitter.com/fmwales/status/1242199919739506693
- We have set out five simple steps to help people use GP services to protect themselves and healthcare staff. These are available at https://gov.wales/simple-steps-help-your-gp-practice-help-you
- Letters are being sent to more than 100,000 people across Wales this week who are extremely vulnerable to developing a serious illness if they are exposed to coronavirus.
- They are being asked to adopt “shielding” measures to protect themselves – this includes staying at home for at least 12 weeks.
- We have been working with local authorities and the WCVA to ensure support is available for these people if they do not have friends and family nearby to help them
- This group of people are considered to be extremely vulnerable because they have specific, long-term health conditions.
- The First Minister and Health Minister today made statements about coronavirus in the Senedd. These are available athttps://record.assembly.wales/Plenary/6266#A700000181More information is available at: https://gov.wales/further-action-protect-people-highest-risk-coronavirus
- The First Minister will review the current guidance around construction sites – at present they are able to work as normal.
- To help reduce the number of people who could potentially be exposed to coronavirus and to continue to reduce the risk of it spreading, we are considering whether the guidelines could be tightened to ensure only sites which undertaking essential maintenance or repair work or are crucial to the coronavirus response continue to operate.
- Speaking at his press conference today, the First Minister said: “I believe there’s a strong case for closing some sites.”
- The FM’s press conference is available on the @FMWales Twitter feed https://www.pscp.tv/w/1lPKqVYwzOeGb
- HOUSING: Guidance has been issued to all Welsh local authorities about the measures needed to support homeless people and rough sleepers, including:
- Ensuring people who are, or are at risk of, sleeping rough, and those in inadequate temporary accommodation have the support, resources and policies needed to protect themselves.
- Have access to the facilities to enable them to adhere to public health guidance on hygiene or isolation.
- Use alternative powers and funding to assist those with no recourse to public funds who require shelter and other forms of support due to the coronavirus pandemic
- Mitigate their risk of infection and to ensure they are able to self-isolate.
- Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James last week announced £10m to support services for people who are homeless and rough sleeping during the coronavirus outbreak.
- UPDATE: A further death of a person who tested positive for coronavirus has been reported, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 17.
UPDATE 23 March 2020
The First Minister has announced sweeping new measures in Wales to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Speaking tonight Mark Drakeford AM said:
“Over the last few weeks, we have asked everyone to make changes to the way they live their lives. We have asked you to stay at home. We’ve asked you to work from home if you can and not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary.
“We’ve done this to slow the spread of coronavirus in Wales. To save lives and to protect our NHS.
“But now we have to introduce more, even tighter measures.
“From now on, all high street shops will be closed, expect those selling food, pharmacies, banks and post offices.
“Local NHS services, including your GP, will continue to be open.
“But all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, as well as gatherings of more than two people in public should not take place.
“Funerals will continue to be held but only with close family present.
“We’re asking everyone to stay at home – please only go out once a day to shop for basic food if you have to and to exercise close to home.
“Everyone should now also work from home, if you can.
“These are really big changes for us all. We are making them because of the speed the virus is continuing to spread.
“Please help us protect you and to save lives. We can do this together.”
- All high street shops will be closed, expect those selling food, pharmacies, banks and post offices.
- Local NHS services, including your GP, will continue to be open.
- All social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, as well as gatherings of more than two people in public should not take place.
- Funerals will continue to be held but only with close family present.
- We’re asking everyone to stay at home – please only go out once a day to shop for basic food if you have to and to exercise close to home.
- Everyone should now also work from home, if they can.
Tough new measures to slow the spread of coronavirus introduced today
First Minister Mark Drakeford today announced tough new measures to slow the spread of coronavirus in Wales and save lives.
Caravan parks, campsites, tourist hotspots and popular beauty spots will be closed to visitors from today. Local authorities are also enforcing the closure of pubs throughout Wales following reports some are flouting the shutdown introduced on Saturday. Licensed premises, which continue to trade will risk losing their licence.
- TRAVEL: Visit Wales has temporarily changed its name to Visit Wales. Later. More information is available at:https://www.visitwales.com/coronavirus
- Digital signs on many of the major roads in Wales have been changed to urge people to stay at home to protect the NHS.
- The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society has announced the cancellation of the 2020 Royal Welsh Showhttps://rwas.wales/blog/2020/03/19/covid-19-official-statement-issued-by-the-royal-welsh-agricultural-society-regarding-our-future-events/
- HEALTH: Four further deaths of people who have tested positive for coronavirus have been reported, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 16. The number of deaths is now being reported by Public Health Wales in its daily update https://covid19-phwstatement.nhs.wales/
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has announced an extra £10m to speed up construction of sections of the new Grange University Hospital, which will provide up to 350 extra hospital beds for use by the end of April 2020. More details at https://abuhb.nhs.wales/coronavirus/latest-official-information-from-the-health-board-on-coronavirus-covid-19/?CFID=eb23b541-c0eb-4ef3-9749-d0edd9c69c89&CFTOKEN=0
- The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published coronavirus guidelines to support NHS Wales and social care https://gov.wales/coronavirus-national-institute-health-and-care-excellence-nice-guidelines
UPDATE 22 March 2020
First Minister Mark Drakeford has urged people in Wales not to travel unless absolutely.
- He said: “Self-isolation for those who have symptoms and social distancing by everyone is absolutely essential at this stage if we are to delay the spread of this virus and save lives.
- “We all need to follow this advice now to protect each other and our families and to help ensure our NHS is not overwhelmed.
- “Social distancing includes avoiding all but essential travel and if people don’t follow this advice we will have no choice but to use powers to enforce it.
- Social distancing guidance is available athttps://gov.wales/coronavirus-social-distancing-guidance
- EDUCATION: Education Minister Kirsty Williams has today published the five things parents need to know before sending their child to school under the new arrangements, which start tomorrow (Monday March 23). These are:
- The latest scientific advice
- Social distancing for children
- The latest advice for critical workers
- Advice if one parent is a critical worker
- What local authorities are doing
- To read the five things, visit https://gov.wales/5-things-you-need-know-sending-your-children-school-or-childcare
- HEALTH: A new campaign will be launched in Wales which provides guidance about how to help people who are staying at home because of coronavirus. The Looking Out for Each Othercampaign focuses on the small things we can all do to help each other during the pandemic.
- A new online hub – gov.wales/safehelp – will also be launched and will include a ‘helping hand’ card, which can be downloaded and put through the letterboxes of neighbours to offer help to those who are isolating.
- Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has announced the closure of all play areas in its area encourage people to follow the social distancing guidelines https://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/EN/Newsroom/PressReleases/2020/March/CoronavirusresponseCouncilLeaderannouncesclosureofallplayareas.aspx
- TRANSPORT: NHS staff will be able to travel to work for free on Transport for Wales services from Monday until April 30 on production of their NHS ID.
- HOUSING: Emergency legislation to protect renters and landlords affected by COVID-19 will apply to Wales, Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James has confirmed. https://gov.wales/greater-protection-tenants-and-landlords-affected-coronavirus-wales
Update 21 March 2020
HEALTH: In a press conference this morning the Minister for Health and Social Services announced a number of new measures.
Former and future health and social care professionals needed to help Wales respond to coronavirus
Personal protection equipment Written Statement
Increase in Coronavirus testing Written statement
The Minister also announced that pharmacies can open an hour later and close an hour earlier. They can also close for two hours in the middle of the day, if necessary to give pharmacy staff the protection they need to fulfil the medicines supply role and to protect their own health and wellbeing. He asked community pharmacies to remain flexible during these times so they can respond to the needs of their most vulnerable customers, especially those in high-risk groups.
EDUCATION: The Welsh Government has today confirmed support for families of children who receive free school meals. Up to £7 million of additional funding will be provided to local authorities to urgently provide financial assistance to families of pupils who rely on free school meals, but are unable to receive them due to school closures.
Guidance will be issued to local authorities to make arrangements to ensure children and young people eligible for free school meals receive access to alternative provision.
- SCHOOLS: The Welsh Government has confirmed support for families of children who receive free school meals – up to £7m will be provided to local authorities to ensure free school meals are still available after schools are closed.
- Guidance will be issued to local authorities to make arrangements to ensure children and young people eligible for free school meals receive access to alternative meal provision.
- All local authorities across Wales have begun making emergency provision, including collection facilities from schools or delivering food to homes or community locations.
- Local authorities also have the option of providing gift cards and e-vouchers from local retailers and distributing them to families.
- More details are available at: https://gov.wales/welsh-government-makes-7-million-available-support-pupils-while-schools-are-closed
- Free school meals guidance for schools https://gov.wales/free-school-meals-coronavirus-guidance-schools
- A Q&A about how schools will work from Monday March 23 is available at https://gov.wales/how-schools-will-work-during-coronavirus-pandemic
- HEALTH: Wales’ former health and social care professionals are being asked to return to work as part of an emergency recruitment drive to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
- Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Social Services and Integration have made simultaneous appeals to their colleagues to sign-up to support those affected.
- Final-year students will also be offered paid work in the NHS to help boost the workforce over the coming months.
- More details are available at: https://gov.wales/former-and-future-health-and-social-care-professionals-needed-help-wales-respond-coronavirus
- TESTING: The number of coronavirus tests carried out every day in Wales will be increased rapidly as capacity is expanded in the weeks ahead, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has confirmed.
- At the moment more than 800 tests a day are being carried out.
- This will increase to 6,000 daily by 1 April and to 8,000 by 7 April.
- Further information is available at: https://gov.wales/written-statement-coronavirus-covid-19-update
- HEALTH: Personal protective equipment (PPE) is being distributed to all social care settings in Wales.
- The guidance states that PPE is not required if neither the care worker nor the individual receiving care and support has symptoms of coronavirus – but normal good hygiene practices should be maintained at all times.
- If PPE is needed in social care while stocks are being rolled out, it will be available from NHS stores.
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said community pharmacies will be allowed to open an hour later and close an hour earlier and they will be allowed to close for two hours in the middle of the day, if necessary, to give staff the time they need to fulfil their vital medicines supply role and to protect staff health and wellbeing. He has asked community pharmacies to remain flexible during these times so they can respond to the needs of their most vulnerable customers, especially those in high-risk groups.
- A further two coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed, bringing the number of deaths in Wales to five. A 75-year-old died at Singleton Hospital, in Swansea and a 98-year-old died at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, in North Wales. Both people had underlying health conditions.
- People self-isolating during the coronavirus outbreak do not need to go to their GP to get a sick note to give to their employer.
- Instead, an online coronavirus self-isolation note is now available in Wales. It should be used for people with symptoms who need to self-isolate for seven days and those living with someone with symptoms, who need to self-isolate for 14 days.
- The note can be filled in and given to employers, without involving a doctor, ensuring GP services can focus on patient care.
- To get an isolation note, complete the online symptom checker athttps://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/SelfAssessments/symptomcheckers/?ScName=CoronaVirusCOVID19&SCTId=175 and follow the steps
- Breast Test Wales, Cervical Screening Wales, Bowel Screening Wales, Diabetic Eye Screening Wales and Wales Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening have temporarily paused their population screening services during the coronavirus pandemic. The move is in response to government guidance to stop non-essential social contact and travel, guidance for vulnerable groups and practical constraints relating to staff shortages. https://phw.nhs.wales/news/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-temporarily-pauses-some-of-the-screening-programmes-in-wales/
- The First Minister has made the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Wales) Regulations 2020 under sections 45C(1), (3)(c), (4)(d), 45F(2) and 45P of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, which come into force today. These require the closure of businesses selling food or drink for consumption on the premises to protect against the risks to public health arising from coronavirus.
- The regulations also apply to cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, bingo halls, concert halls, museums and galleries, casinos, betting shops, spas, massage parlours, indoor skating rinks, indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres.
- HOUSING: Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James has announced the VE Day commemorations in Wales will be postponed. Events will also be postponed in England and Scotlandhttps://www.gov.uk/government/news/ve-day-commemorations-to-change-to-protect-veterans
- TRANSPORT: From Monday, Transport for Wales will be running a reduced timetable on its network until further notice. Sunday service times will be applied seven days a week, with some additional train services operating in the mornings to support selected urban commuter routes. Train times are available on the Transport for Wales website, app and via National Rail Enquires.
Update 20 March 2020
FIRST MINISTER STATEMENT – ADDITIONAL MEASURES
“This afternoon I attended a COBR meeting, where further significant measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak were agreed across the four nations of the United Kingdom.
Earlier this week, we agreed a number of important actions aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.
We asked people to take action, for example by not attending pubs, clubs, restaurants and other public places. Many people have heeded that strong advice, and behaved responsibly in the interests of our whole society. We have seen that all around us over the past days and I am very grateful to all those who have done so.
However, we now need everyone to do what most people are doing already because otherwise, we will not slow the disease at the rate that we must.
COBR therefore considered and agreed a series of further measures, which are designed to increase the level of public compliance with the earlier advice.
Health is a devolved responsibility, and as Welsh Ministers, we will tonight exercise our powers under the 1984 Public Health Act in order to close restaurants, pubs, bars and other facilities where people gather. This also includes leisure centres, gyms, cinemas, theatres and betting shops. I will sign the necessary regulations later tonight, and they will come into force immediately.
We do not take this move lightly, and we know this will be immensely difficult for those employed in the industries affected.
But this is the right thing to do. We are tackling this virus in a controlled and determined way to protect and care for the most vulnerable people in our society.
Together we can make that difference.”
- SCHOOLS: Today schools closed for normal education provision across Wales. From Monday March 23, they will reopen to provide support for those children who cannot safely be looked after at home and for children of parents who are defined as critical workers.
- Our advice is:
- If it is at all possible for children to be at home, they should be
- If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is critical to the Covid-19 response, then provision in an educational or childcare setting should be available for them
- Parents should not rely anyone who has been advised to be following social distancing guidance, such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions, for childcare.
- Parents should do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in ways, which could contribute to spreading coronavirus. Children should observe the same social distancing guidance as adults.
- Residential special schools and special settings should continue to care for children wherever possible.
- We will be continuing to provide food for children who receive free school meals. Further advice and guidance will be available tomorrow.
- Further guidance for schools is available at https://gov.wales/school-closures-20-march-2020-faqs
- Qualifications Wales has made a statement about exams in Wales following the decision to cancel this year. The statement is available at: https://www.qualificationswales.org/english/coronavirus/issuing-grades-for-qualifications-summer-2020/
- HELP FOR THE HOMELESS: We are making £10m available to councils throughout Wales to help them to take immediate and direct action to protect the homeless and rough sleepers in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Housing Minister Julie James today confirmed.
- The additional funding will enable local authorities to secure the accommodation needed to ensure those without a home can be protected, supported, and isolated if necessary.
- Further details are available at https://gov.wales/10-million-emergency-support-rough-sleepers-wales-during-coronavirus-outbreak
- HEALTH: A third person has died in Wales after contracting coronavirus. The 71-year-old was receiving treatment at the Princess of Wales Hospital, in Bridgend and had underlying health problems.
Update 19 March 2020
- BUSINESS SUPPORT: The Welsh Government last night confirmed a £1.4bn package of support for businesses to help them as the coronavirus outbreak progresses.
- The new package provides retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales with a year-long business rates holiday in 2020-21;
- A grant of £25,000 for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000;
- A £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for small business rates relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
- As far as possible, the rates relief will be operated through the non-domestic rates system for 2020-21. We will reduce the red tape for businesses to receive grants.
- This matches the measures the Chancellor announced this week for businesses in England, and provides a much-needed boost for small businesses in Wales, which are at the heart of our economy and are struggling to cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
- The £1.4bn package extends the emergency £200m rates relief support we were able to announce on March 17.
- Further information about the business support available in Wales is set out in the attached Q&A.
- Economy Minister Ken Skates today held an emergency meeting of the Council for Economic Development to discuss businesses’ needs and also held talks with the banks.
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has a dedicated helpline for businesses concerned about being able to pay tax due to COVID-19: 0800 0159 559.
- Acas provides workplace advice for employers and employees. It has a page on Coronavirus that is being updated daily. It also provides a £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. Business Advice can been found here:•
- Business Wales has a page on Coronavirus and support packages https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice and can be contacted on 03000 6 03000.• UK Government Business Advice see the page here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
- SCHOOLS: Education Minister Kirsty Williams will today take part in an online Q&A with children about coronavirus. It is being broadcast on our @WelshGovernment Twitter channel at 5.30pm
- All schools in Wales will be closed from Friday for normal classes and exams will not be held this summer.
- A Q&A is attached, which sets out the latest education information.
- CHILDCARE: Childcare Offer for Wales payments will continue even if children do not attend due to coronavirus isolation. The Welsh Government is announcing funding for the Childcare Offer for Wales will continue to be paid to local authorities and childcare settings who currently receive payments for children in their care, even where services are disrupted.Childcare settings are not being required to close, and will remain open for the time being. However Welsh Ministers have agreed that where a setting is closed on medical advice, or if children are not able to attend due to Covid-19, funding will still be made available.Funding will also continue where staffing numbers fall to a level that the setting is no longer safe to operate.Welsh Ministers also expect local authorities to maintain payments for childcare provided under Flying Start and for the provision of early education. The Childcare Offer for Wales provides 30 hours a week of government-funded early education (FPN) and childcare for eligible working parents of 3 to 4 year olds, for up to 48 weeks of the year. This is available throughout Wales.
- HEALTH: Pharmacist Natalie Proctor has recorded a myth-busting video about the use of ibuprofen and coronavirus. It is available at: https://twitter.com/WGHealthandCare/status/1240352116574732290
- Wales’ Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Andrew Evans has set out the five steps everyone can take to get the right support from their community pharmacy https://gov.wales/simple-steps-help-your-pharmacy-help-you
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething’s written statement setting out Wales’ approach to coronavirus testing is available at: https://gov.wales/written-statement-coronavirus-covid-19-testing
Update: 18 March 2020
- SCHOOLS: All schools in Wales will close on Friday March 20
- We are acting on a change of expert advice and increasing numbers of staff who are self-isolating.
- From next week, schools will have a new purpose to support those most in need, including those people who are involved in the immediate response to the coronavirus outbreak.
- We are working with local government to finalise these plans, including ensuring children who receive free school meals and those with additional learning needs are looked after.
- Summer exams will not be going ahead. Education Minister Kirsty Williams: “We are in an unprecedented period, one that is changing hour-by-hour, and governments around the world are having to make quick decisions. We recognise the worry and anxiety that the uncertainty around the summer exam series was causing. Today I met with Qualifications Wales and WJEC to consider options that are in the best interests of our learners. We recognise that there are no easy choices but we have agreed that the best way forward is not to proceed with summer exam series. Learners due to sit their GCSEs and A levels this summer will be awarded a fair grade to recognise their work, drawing on the range of information that is available. We will be working with the sector to announce further details shortly but wanted to give this early certainty. We also won’t be using the results to publish performance measure outcomes in 2020.”
- CHILDCARE: The Welsh Government has confirmed funding for the childcare offer for Wales will continue to be paid to local authorities and childcare settings even if services are disrupted during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Childcare settings will remain open until we have definitive advice from the Chief Medical Officer and from Public Health Wales that closures are required
- HOUSING: The Welsh Government is introducing a temporary three-month interest repayment holiday for interest-bearing Help to Buy Wales customers who may suffer financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, Housing Minister Julie James today confirmed https://gov.wales/housing-minister-confirms-help-buy-wales-loan-interest-repayment-holiday
- HEALTH: Wales is introducing a phased roll-out of coronavirus testing to ensure people who are essential to the response to the outbreak are available. Testing will be prioritised for patients and for those healthcare staff involved in frontline clinical care; as capacity increases, further guidance will be issued about who will be eligible for testing.
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething has made regulations to ensure the public are protected as far as possible from the transmission of the virus. In accordance with regulation three, he has declared the incidence or transmission of novel coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health. The measures set out in the regulations will help to delay or prevent further transmission of the virus. Further information is available at https://gov.wales/health-protection-coronavirus-wales-regulations-2020
- BUSINESS SUPPORT: The Development Bank of Wales is offering all its business customers a three-month capital repayment holiday to help them manage the financial fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
- Support and advice is available from Business Wales athttps://businesswales.gov.wales/ or call 03000 6 03000. The Development Bank of Wales can be contacted onhttps://developmentbank.wales/ or 0800 587 4140.
Update 17 March 2020
- The Welsh Government has announced a £200m package of support for businesses to help them pay their rates bills. Full details of the announcement are available at:https://gov.wales/emergency-support-businesses-hit-coronavirus
- First Minister Mark Drakeford has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for an “unprecedented way to enable businesses who are threatened with imminent bankruptcy” as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. A copy of the letter is available @fmwales
- The National Museum for Wales, National Library, Wales Millennium Centre and Cadw sites with staffed visitor centres have been closed to the public
- The First Minister will be meeting the WLGA and WCVA on Wednesday to discuss how vulnerable people who are asked to stay at home to protect themselves from coronavirus can be supported.
- A second death of a person with coronavirus was confirmed by Chief Medical Officer Dr Frank Atherton this afternoon. The 96-year-old had underlying health conditions and was being treated at Morriston Hospital, in Swansea.
Update 16 March 2020
- Sadly, Wales recorded its first coronavirus-related death today. The 68-year-old had been treated in Wrexham Maelor Hospital and had underlying health conditions. The First Minister has sent his condolences to the person’s family and friends.
- If anyone in your family or household has symptoms (a new persistent cough or a temperature) the whole household should stay at home for 14 days. We are also asking everyone to think about their daily lives and consider what steps they can take to reduce their contact and interaction with large groups of people – could they work from home, for example, or stop mixing with others while coronavirus is circulating.
- This advice is really important for people over 70; for people who have an underlying medical condition (those who would normally receive a free flu jab) and for pregnant women. For most people coronavirus will be a mild illness, but we believe these are the groups, which are most at risk of developing a more serious illness.
- We understand this is extremely unsettling for people and there will be many questions. We are doing our best to ensure that guidance is available in writing and this will be updated to the Public Health Wales website (link below) and the Welsh Government website as soon as possible.
- It is likely we will be announcing more extraordinary measures in the next week to protect the most vulnerable groups. We will keep you informed about this.
- The advice is that larger gatherings should not go ahead – we want to make sure all our public and emergency services are responding to the outbreak.
- Estyn has announced it will be cancelling all school inspections and visits to ensure school staff are able to focus on keeping schools open and the wellbeing of pupils and students. Further details are available at https://www.estyn.gov.wales/news/estyn-inspections-and-other-visits-suspended-support-providers-stay-open-and-reduce-pressure-%E2%80%93
- The Welsh Government has postponed the St David Awards, which were due to be held on Thursday.
- Economy Minister Ken Skates has announced support for businesses affected by coronavirus and will speak to companies about what else they need to respond to the outbreak. The Development Bank of Wales will offer all its business customers a three-month capital repayment holiday https://gov.wales/businesses-offered-capital-repayment-holidays-help-manage-coronavirus-impact
- We will be making further announcements about coronavirus support for businesses, including rates relief.
Update 15 March 2020
- Economy Minister Ken Skates will today (Monday March 16) announce support for businesses affected by coronavirus and will speak to companies about what else they need to respond to the outbreak.
- The Development Bank of Wales will offer all its business customers a three-month capital repayment holiday.
- We will be making further announcements about coronavirus support for businesses in the coming days, including rates relief. Finance Minister Rebecca Evans wrote to the UK Treasury on Friday seeking urgent clarity about the level of rates relief funding it will guarantee, recognising the greater number of small business in Wales and their specific needs.
- Business Wales and the Development Bank of Wales can provide businesses with tailored support and advice about dealing with coronavirus, from financial and supply chain planning to advice on staffing issues. The Welsh Government is also talking to banks about what support they will offer businesses during this period.
- Our NHS is working hard to treat people who have been confirmed with coronavirus while also dealing with the everyday and emergency healthcare needs of the Welsh population. NHS staff are doing a fantastic job and we thank them for their hard work.
- As demand for coronavirus-related hospital treatment increases, the NHS will need to reduce planned activity, including operations and outpatient appointments, to increase capacity.
- The NHS is postponing planned operations and outpatient operations in a phased way to create the extra capacity in hospitals, which will be needed to care for people who become seriously ill with coronavirus and extra critical care capacity. Everyone affected will be contacted by their health board about their treatment.
- Health Minister Vaughan Gething’s statement is available at: https://gov.wales/written-statement-coronavirus-covid-19-2
- We are rolling out video conferencing technology to GP surgeries so people can access healthcare advice and have consultations with healthcare professionals without going into their local surgery. The online symptom checker is also available at https://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/SelfAssessments/symptomcheckers/?ScName=CoronaVirusCOVID19&SCTId=175
- Food supplies
- We are extending delivery hours for supermarkets and other food retailers to ensure the food industry can respond to increased consumer demand during the coronavirus outbreak. Local planning authorities have been instructed to temporarily relax the enforcement of the planning conditions restricting night-time and early morning deliveries, which will allow retailers to accept deliveries throughout the day and night where necessary. More information is available at https://gov.wales/new-measures-relax-supermarket-delivery-hours-during-coronavirus-outbreak