Welsh Government to fund wastewater virus early warning system project; “don’t leave it too late” plea for cancer treatment

Due to the rescheduling of this afternoon’s virtual plenary session, the weekly coronavirus ministerial statements were issued as written statements instead.

The Senedd schedule is set to return to something approaching normal next week, including First Minister’s Questions. That means Senedd Home will return to the usual pattern of posting for the remaining four weeks of the term. I’m sure you’re delighted.

Here are the key points from the First Minister’s statement:

  • The First Minister held an online discussion with carers to mark Carers’ Week last week and to learn how the lockdown has affected carers. An additional £50,000 has been made available to Carers Wales.
  • Regulations have been drafted which will require international passengers arriving in Wales to self-isolate themselves for 14 days.
  • 70,000 people in Wales are regularly reporting through the King’s College London symptom tracker (ZOE).
  • The Welsh Government will fund a project to monitor Covid-19 levels in wastewater which may be used to develop an early warning system if/when there’s an additional outbreak.
  • 80% of Welsh Government staff are focused on coronavirus with 97% of staff working from home. The pandemic remains the government’s top priority until there’s the confidence it’s safely behind us.

First steps being taken to allow care homes visits

The Welsh Government and Chief Medical Officer have issued preliminary guidance as a first step towards allowing visits to care homes in Wales.

According to the statement, visitors are unlikely to need to wear face coverings as long as the visit is undertaken outdoors and social distancing is respected.

The Welsh Government said: “Officials are working with Care Inspectorate Wales, Public Health Wales and stakeholders including the Older People’s Commissioner and Care Forum Wales to develop more detailed guidance. This will be published in the coming weeks, and will be kept under review as lockdown restrictions change.”

Over 1000 ideas submitted on post-pandemic recovery

Counsel General, Jeremy Miles (Lab, Neath) – who’s also been put in charge of leading the Welsh Government’s pandemic recovery – has said that more than 1,000 submissions have been made to the “Our Future Wales” project, which is seeking ideas on how to rebuild and reshape the country during the recovery.

An announcement on the latest review of lockdown restrictions is due on Friday (19th June 2020).

The deadline for submissions is the end of July.

Six round-table discussions have been held with expert panels and the Welsh Centre for Public Policy is set to publish summary reports of those meetings in the near future.

Some of the areas of focus include skills development, maximising the use of natural resources, social housing innovation, fostering creativity amongst Welsh businesses and reimagining town centres.

“Don’t leave it too late” plea for cancer treatment

The Health Minister has launched a campaign calling for people who may be displaying symptoms of cancer to not put off seeking treatment or diagnosis because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know that many people have been avoiding their GP surgery or hospital due to Covid-19 but tests and treatment for cancer are available and I want those who need to seek care and treatment to continue to do so.

 

“Services will look different, with some appointments being done remotely and if you do need to be seen in person then clinicians may be wearing protective equipment. This is to reduce everyone’s risk of catching Covid-19 when being investigated for cancer or receiving treatment for cancer.”
– Health & Social Services Minister, Vaughan Gething (Lab, Cardiff S. & Penarth)

Public Health Wales will restart cancer screening programmes from the end of June 2020.

It was also said to be important for people who’ve developed problems eating and drinking – or other physical or mental health issues – as a result of cancer treatment to remain in contact with clinical teams.

More sports set to resume behind closed doors “in the coming weeks and months”

With the English Premier League and English Championship set to resume from this evening, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism & Sport, Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Ind, Dwyfor Meirionnydd), has urged supporters to stay away from Cardiff City Stadium and Swansea’s Liberty Stadium and not to travel to away games.

On a more positive note, the Deputy Minister said that he expects more professional sport to resume behind closed doors in the coming weeks and months, which he hopes will be “a welcome distraction to the challenges we are facing during the Coronavirus pandemic.”

South Wales Police will be supporting Cardiff City and Swansea City in enforcing their behind-closed-doors procedures and will review this support after each club’s first two home games following the resumption of the English Championship.

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