I’m sure you all aware that the national picture has changed significantly over recent days and the situation continues to worsen. The UK map is ‘lighting up’ with an increasing number of local authority areas being subjected to new local restrictions.
You would have seen in the media that there has been a significant escalation over recent days and Welsh Government has indicated that they are giving serious consideration to a short ‘circuit breaker’ to delay the continued spread of the virus across Wales.
The NHS is coming under increasing pressure having seen an increase in the number of Covid cases present in hospitals. Over the past week hospital admissions have increased from 500 to 700 across Wales. If this rate of increase continues there are concerns that, within a short space of time, the NHS will not be able to cope.
We have also been advised that the ‘R’ Rate today stands at 1.4, which is a real cause for concern. This being reflected in Caerphilly’s position, which is 109.9 cases per 100,000 population with a positivity rate of. 9.3 %
We’ve seen many comments from people saying that ‘local lockdowns are not working’ – but we disagree. I’m sure you can imagine how worse the situation would be if we hadn’t introduced the restrictions when we did. It is clear from the UK-wide data that all our efforts have prevented the kind of very large spikes of infection we are seeing elsewhere in the UK.
However, we are still seeing increases here, and in light of this worrying picture, at today’s weekly review meeting, involving CCBC and Welsh Government, it was decided that the Caerphilly county borough will need to keep its existing local lockdown restrictions in place for a further 7 days at least.
None of us want to hear this news, but we are not in a position to ease restrictions just yet due to our continuing precarious position.
It’s important to note that it is not just the Caerphilly county borough in this position – most of our neighbouring local authority areas are experiencing the same problems, as indeed are many other parts of the UK. We are working closely with Welsh Government to inform any national interventions.
We are getting lots of requests for more detailed data, but this is held and managed by Public Health Wales. More information can be found on their website:
As stated previously, over recent weeks we started developing an exit strategy with Welsh Government, but the situation is changing so quickly that those discussions are almost irrelevant now because we are now likely to see a Wales-wide approach - and this will require a completely new exit strategy going forward.
Based on our findings over recent weeks, we would like to share with you some of the key areas we need to collectively focus upon:
- The virus needs contact in order to spread and thrive, so we must socially distance ourselves
- Please be very careful when socialising, especially in pubs and clubs. Please don’t mix with people who are not in your household bubble
- Only mix with people from within your household (ie those who live with you)
- Contact tracing – if you do have a positive test, then please provide us with the full details of your recent movements and people you’ve had close contact with, as this helps us track and trace the movement of the virus. Without this honest conversation we are ‘chasing our tails’.
Please don’t forget the basics:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly
- Socially distance wherever possible
- Wear a face mask in all enclosed public spaces and where social distance cannot be maintained.
In terms of our support for the local business community, you may be aware that Welsh Government recently announced a special Local Lockdown grant to support businesses affected by the ongoing restrictions. The Council has been working hard to get plans in place in order to start receiving and processing applications. We are currently awaiting a ‘go live’ date from Welsh Government to launch the scheme.
It seems we are about to enter a very rough and long winter. We will only get through these challenging times if we continue to work together and take individual and collective responsibility for our actions.
We know that many of you are making many personal sacrifices in order to comply with the restrictions and we ask that you stick with it. Christmas is drawing ever closer and nobody wants to see restrictions over the festive period, so let’s make a collective effort to help drive these cases down.
Cllr Philippa Marsden Christina Harrhy
Leader of Council Chief Executive
PLEASE NOTE – Due to the time sensitive nature of this message, it is being issued in English only. The Welsh translation will be provided as soon as it is available.