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Face masks and social distancing: Due to the rising prevalence of COVID-19 in our communities, we strongly encourage healthcare staff and visitors to wear a face covering in all of our settings, particularly in clinical areas and those with high footfall. Please exercise a common-sense approach and personal responsibility to help us reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our patients, workforce and services. In addition to wearing a face covering, it is important to continue to maintain social distancing where possible. Thank you for your continued support and co-operation at this time. We continue to regularly review our advice based on prevalence in our communities and our hospitals.

Caution urged as Indian variant cases confirmed in Swansea Bay area

A picture of Keith Reid

People in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot are being urged to keep socially distancing and get their Covid-19 vaccination as soon as they’re called, because Coronavirus hasn’t gone away.

In fact, cases of the Indian variant – which is believed to have a higher infection rate - have now been confirmed in the Swansea Bay area.

Even though lockdown restrictions are easing and people have more freedom to enjoy indoor hospitality, time hasn’t yet been called on the virus.

Swansea Bay University Health Board Director of Public Health, Dr Keith Reid, warned that Covid was still out there, despite the number of infections and hospital admissions being well down on their January second peak.

The risk of infection was still very real, particularly among those who haven’t yet received the protection of their first vaccine dose, he said.

“Covid hasn’t gone away and now that people are socialising indoors in pubs and restaurants, and other indoor activities have restarted, it is very likely that we will see infection rates creeping up again. Covid thrives on close contact, particularly among those who haven’t been vaccinated.

“We now have a small number of confirmed cases of B.1.617.2 (the variant of concern that was first detected in India) variant in the Swansea Bay region, which is a worry as it looks like this variant spreads more easily.

“Our testing and tracing teams are working hard to prevent it being spread further, but people should be aware that we’re not out of the woods yet, and continue to take all precautions.”

Dr Reid advised people to carry on handwashing, to keep a safe distance from people they don’t live with, and wear face-coverings in indoor public places. They should also get tested if they have any classic Covid-19 symptoms: high temperature, new continuous cough or loss of taste/smell, or if they have flu-like symptoms or feel unwell with other symptoms which are unusual for them.

“It is also much safer to be outdoors in the fresh air than inside a building where Covid viruses can circulate more easily,” he added.

“So even though pubs and restaurants are now serving inside, please still consider choosing a table outside, particularly if you or one of your group have not been vaccinated.

“Vaccination remains a priority to helping us all get back to a normal life. So please do all you can to attend your vaccination appointment. People can also join our reserve list if they have missed an earlier appointment for any reason, or would like the opportunity to be offered a vaccination sooner.

“Our doors are open. We want to vaccinate every adult we are able to in Swansea Bay as soon as we can.”

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