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Newtown could have had local lockdown

 
Created on 31/10/2020 @ 10:44
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Newtown was likely to face local restrictions regardless of the Welsh Government's Covid-19 lockdown, it has emerged.

The Powys Incident Management Team, made up of Powys County Council and the Powys Teaching Health Board among others, was likely to impose a lockdown on Newtown and other communities due to the dramatic rise in infections reported.

But the decision was superseded by the Welsh Government's "circuit break" brought in last Friday.

Latest coronavirus positive cases rose dramatically in Newtown this week. The number of positive cases reported in the past seven days was 26, with a large jump following a cluster of cases at the Bethshan Nursing Home in the town.

Powys Council Leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris, said: "Unfortunately, despite regular advice reinforcing key messaging regarding social distancing to slow the spread of Coronavirus and the excellent work of our Test, Trace and Protect programme, cases in Powys have been increasing recently.

"Case number have been growing slowly and have exceeded 50 cases per 100,000 population, which is the point at which the county is required to submit disease control proposals to the Welsh Government.

"A Powys Incident Management Team, made up of officers from the county council, Powys Teaching Health Board and Public Health Wales, had recommend some very limited local measures to be implemented to help slow the spread of the disease.

"Those measures included an end to extended household meetings, extending staff testing to include domiciliary staff and a requirement for Powys residents to work from home. There was also a strong emphasis on communicating key messages about social distancing.

"However, they did not include any wider travel restrictions or lockdown actions for businesses because of the possible impact on the county’s economy."

Cllr Harris added: While many of us fear the impact the Welsh Government’s approach will have on our businesses, they will be in place and we have to comply with them. As a consequence, our libraries, leisure centres, household waste recycling centres are closed and will not re-open until Monday 9th of November.

"Powys schools were already on half term and are not due to open until next Monday (November 2). Primary and special schools will reopen as normal, with secondary school years seven, eight and vulnerable children returning at the same time.

"Pupils will be able to attend schools for exams, but pupils in Years 9 and above will continue their learning from home for a week.

"People are being asked to work from home and only leave for reasonable excuses such as exercise or medical appointments. Our buildings will return to the same operating hours as we saw earlier this year with limited day and time availability. 

"Financial support will be provided to business affected by the Welsh Government’s actions, and we are waiting final guidance as to the details of the schemes that will be put in place. 

"Where possible payments will be made automatically.  Powys businesses are asked not to contact the county council at this stage but to give us time to work up the arrangements. Information will be publicised as soon as it is available."

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