THE decision to put Llanelli into lockdown – or to give it the proper title, ‘a health protection zone’ – was not one that was taken lightly.
This virus can spread very quickly in the right conditions and we were getting alarmed by the way it was starting to pop up around Llanelli. We felt there was a small window of opportunity to stop the virus spreading uncontrollably again a week or so ago, so the Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and the Council all agreed we should take action.
We are the only part of the country where a lockdown has been imposed on a more-or-less town-wide catchment. The line stretches from Pwll to Hendy. It’s hard in an area where movements either side are part of everyday life. It is difficult at the boundaries; I’ve had lots of questions about people from Burry Port wanting to shop in Llanelli, and from people in Hendy wanting to pop into Ponturddulais.
Lockdowns are harsh. My advice to people is to apply common sense, but first and foremost ask yourself if your journey is really necessary. Rather than trying to find ways around the rules we need to ask ourselves what we can do to stop the virus spreading.
The most effective things we can all do are simple – keep a distance from people you don’t live with and wash your hands regularly.
This is not a full lockdown like last time. Businesses in our town centre are still open, and doing an excellent job to keep their customers safe. Schools are still open, because we need to consider that there is more than one harm from Coronavirus.
And as of last Saturday, to try and address the problem of loneliness, people living alone can choose one other household to join with and meet indoors.
So when people ask why can’t we learn to live with this virus – I say that is exactly what we are trying to do.
I know it’s tough, and it breaks my heart to see families struggling because of this pandemic. But we can’t just let this virus run its course as some amongst us like to suggest. This is a nasty disease, and even if the percentage of people who die is small, letting this virus run wild will overwhelm hospitals, and the long-term health impacts are still unclear. It’s up to all of us to pull together this winter.