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Summer is coming to a close and we, as a nation, have experienced so much in the last six months. Back in March, the whole of the UK made the joint decision to go into lockdown. We were not allowed to leave our homes except to perform one form of exercise per day, all shops and pubs closed down, socialising was off-limits and over 60s were recommended to stay indoors. I feel I do not need to list what we had to injure during the last lockdown as everyone’s experiences were different and personal. Although, we all have a common understanding of the virus and are aware of the turmoil it can create. In this sense, the virus has brought us together to feel united in a time of upheaval.
We ‘were’ and ‘are’ living in a pandemic. Unfortunately, there is no escaping this virus and the cases are rising again! After having a few months of normality during the summer when the cases decreased, no one wanted to remember the bleak time during lockdown. But unfortunately, many counties in Wales have announced local lockdowns. Despite our efforts to social distance and stay safe.
Wales is in a state of emergency as cases are on the incline. As I write this, Public Health Wales (PHW) says there were 362 new lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19 recorded for the Sunday, September 27 figures – slightly down from the 370 recorded the day before.
Blaenau Gwent has the fastest case rise in Wales – 304.9 per 100,000 up to 25 September – 213 actual cases. Analysis by the BBC suggested it was also the hardest-hit area in the UK for the week up to 24 September – ahead of Burnley on 270 cases per 100,000, Knowsley on Merseyside and Liverpool.
As coronavirus cases rise across the country, the Welsh Government have now made the decision to impose local lockdown restrictions in areas where the virus transmission appears to be at its worst. Swansea and Cardiff joined Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Caerphilly on Sunday and took the number of Welsh local authority areas under heightened Covid restrictions to eight. On Sunday we also heard the news that Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan were also joining these counties with the same measures from 18:00 BST on Monday.
Roughly 1.5 millions of the Welsh population are now under local lockdown! That is about half of Wales’ population including its two biggest cities. We all need to monitor our actions and decisions to try and reduce the spread of the virus. These local lockdowns may make you feel uneasy and scared but I assure you these measures are necessary to protect us all. And if we are not careful we could face more counties going into local lockdown.
The new lockdown measures in these areas are not on the same scale as those introduced for the whole of Wales back in March [I take a sigh of relief]. But the new rules and restrictions do limit socialising and travelling, in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. This means everyone living in these local authorities will:
- Not be allowed to enter or leave the area without a reasonable excuse.
- Not be able to meet indoors with anyone they do not live with.
- Extended households (sometimes called a “bubble”) are suspended for the time being.
- All licensed premises have to stop serving alcohol at 10pm.
- Everyone must work from home wherever possible.
This is very daunting but there are many companies and articles out there that can help you if you are struggling with the news of entering lockdown again. We have found a few articles that can help you, check these out:
Remember we have been through this before and there are signs of the local lockdown measures making a difference. After being placed into local lockdown, Caerphilly’s numbers have begun to subside. Where there was an incident rate of 96.6 positive cases per 100,000 of the population when the county went into lockdown, that number is decreasing and reached 35.3 in late September. Stay safe and do not lose hope, we are strong as a country together.
Even as I write this article things are changing. We are all struggling to stay on top of the rules and know the most recent information. But keep up to date with your local guidelines and stay aware of the changing situations.