Wales’ top medical expert has spoken out about the current surge in coronavirus cases in Wales, saying people should social distancing and wear face coverings in crowded places to prevent transmission. There is no indication that restrictions will be imposed in Wales, but Dr Frank Atherton urged people with respiratory infections to self-isolate.
There has been an increase in the number of cases, with the most recent survey by the Office for National Statistics reporting an increase in the number of cases in the UK. It is estimated that one in 45 people in Wales currently has Covid-19. The most recent figures will be released at lunchtime on Friday, June 24 and are expected to show further gains.
But dr. Atherton says that while there has been an “increased” number of patients coming to hospital for treatment, there has been no increase in intensive care units or in the number of people dying.
Read more:Wales expands access to free lateral flow testing after increase in Covid cases
The emergence of the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants is the main factor behind the increase as they become more dominant in the UK, and similar patterns have been observed in France, Germany and Portugal.
Speaking to BBC Radio Wales, Dr. Atherton: “When we have these spikes, and I expect there will be more in the future, we need to go back to some of those things that we know prevent transmission, so social distancing, face covering in crowded places, to make sure to make sure that if we have symptoms of a respiratory infection that we isolate ourselves, all these things will help us break the chains of transmission.”
His comments come as it was announced that Wales is extending its access to free lateral flow device (LFD) testing until the end of July due to the rising number of cases. Health Minister Eluned Morgan has confirmed that free tests will remain available in Wales until 31 July. Read more about the statement here.
dr. Atherton explained why: “The ministers here are quite clear that they prefer removing safeguards and making easements to the situation when we are on a downward tap.
“So, when we have an increase in infection in the community, when the rates actually go up and people are more severely harmed, that’s the time to really delay those changes. And that’s really why we in Wales decided to go ahead. with testing for people symptomatic with symptoms of the coronavirus for another month.”
The tests will be available to the public who show symptoms of coronavirus — such as a high temperature, a new persistent cough, or a loss or change in your sense of smell or taste — in addition to free entry for people visiting someone who is eligible for new ones. Covid-19 treatments.
The Health Minister said: “Testing has been an effective tool to break the chain of transmission and with cases increasing, it is vital that we continue testing to protect the most vulnerable in our society. As we have seen before , Covid can change quickly I announce this expansion in response to the changing picture and new variants of care.
“I would also like to ask people to take protective measures to protect the most vulnerable in the community, wear masks in health and care settings, stay home if you test positive, and accept vaccine offers. know that the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself. I would recommend to those who qualify for their spring booster if they haven’t already had it – the booster is available until June 30.
“Covid has not gone away. As we learn to live with it safely, we will continue to monitor the situation and as we have done for the past two years, we will work together to keep Wales safe.”
Meanwhile, some local health authorities in Wales have changed the rules around mask-wearing this week.
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, which covers the Gwent area, announced in a statement on June 21 that the wearing of face masks in hospitals has been reintroduced.
A statement from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “Due to the increasing prevalence of Covid-19 in our communities, we strongly encourage health professionals and visitors to wear face coverings in all of our settings, particularly in clinical areas and people with disabilities. high traffic numbers. Use a common sense approach and personal responsibility to help us reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our patients, staff and services. In addition to wearing a face covering, it is important to maintain social distancing whenever possible. “
Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board in Rhondda Cynon Taff
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