PEOPLE in Carmarthenshire are being encouraged to work together to ensure the fire-break has the chance to break the chain of Covid-19 infections.
As the country heads into a two-week national lockdown, Carmarthenshire County Council said the restrictions put in place in Llanelli prove that people can make a difference.
Residents there are being praised for their efforts over the last four weeks.
Whilst cases in Llanelli have dropped since the restrictions were introduced on September 25, they have steadily increased in other areas of Carmarthenshire.
The rate of infection in the Llanelli health protection zone currently stands at 112.4 per 100,000 of the population*.
The rest of Carmarthenshire – outside the Llanelli zone – stands at 58.8 per 100,000 of the population.
Carmarthenshire as a whole now has an infection rate of 74.7 per 100,000 of the population.
All data is correct as at 1pm on October 21, 2020.
Council Leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said the fire-break is an opportunity to break the chain.
“None of us want to be in this position, we’re all frustrated and exhausted after months of living through this pandemic, but unless we work together to make a change we will be living with the impact of Covid-19 for much longer,” he said.
“We’re now seeing numbers surge in almost every part of the country and more people being admitted to hospital – whilst absolutely appreciating the impact that restrictions have on our daily lives, and on our businesses, we have to put people’s health first.
“We’ve seen in Llanelli that restrictions work – I want to say thank you to residents there for playing a part in slowing the spread of infections. Those efforts have undoubtedly made a difference – the reality of the situation is that by making that effort fewer people risk becoming gravely ill.
“Now, it’s time for all of us to make a difference. Let’s stay home and give this fire-break a chance to make the right impact. We have to protect eachother, and our wonderful NHS. Here’s our opportunity to do that.”
The national message from 6pm Friday evening is to stay at home and only venture out if it is essential, for example to access health care, for shopping, to exercise outdoors, to support someone who is vulnerable, or to work if you cannot work from home.
Meeting up with people from other households will not be allowed.
Non-essential businesses will have to close but a package of financial support has been made available – business owners are urged to check their eligibility via Business Wales.
Many council services and facilities will also have to close.
Recycling centres, leisure centres and customer service centres, as well as libraries, museums and galleries are amongst the facilities that will close for the duration of the fire-break.
Parks and playgrounds will remain open, although people are advised to only visit for exercise and to stay as close to home as possible.
The council’s indoor markets will also remain open for people to carry out essential shopping.
Other services, such as social care, kerbside waste collections, bulky waste collections and emergency housing repairs will continue, and council staff will continue providing all other services by working from home as per the national rules.
The council’s customer services team will be on hand Monday to Friday to answer queries and provide advice and information about sources of support.
In the meantime, people are being reminded of the importance of self-isolating if they are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms – a fever, new continuous cough, or loss of taste or smell – or if they are asked to isolate by a contact tracer.
Anyone with symptoms should book a test immediately through the UK-wide website or by dialling 119 between the hours of 7am and 11pm (people with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001 119).
It is also important to answer calls from contact tracers – calls will only come from 02921 961133 – and to follow their instructions. They will ask for information to trace people who may have come into contact with the virus, and not to carry out any enforcement.
Visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales for further advice, up to date information, as well as an at-a-glance directory of open, closed, restricted or online services.
A range of frequently asked questions and the full regulations can be found at gov.wales/coronavirus
For a more detailed breakdown of figures on a locality basis, visit phw.nhs.wales
*All data is correct as at 1pm on October 21, 2020.