Cluster of COVID cases in Merthyr Tydfil

Public Health Wales and partners within the Cwm Taf Morgannwg area are urging young people across Wales to remember the importance of social distancing, quarantining when returning from overseas and isolating if experiencing symptoms or as advised by Track and Trace teams as a cluster of positive Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases has been identified in Merthyr Tydfil.

A total of 13 people have been confirmed as having COVID-19 in a cluster centred around the Merthyr Tydfil area with a small number of linked cases distributed across the region. The cases are linked through social gatherings and it appears the first cases contracted their infection whilst abroad.

Merthyr Tydfil CBC, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and Public Health Wales are working in partnership with Health Boards and Local Authorities across South East Wales to follow up cases and provide advice to those they have been in contact with.

Siôn Lingard, Consultant in Public Health for Cwm Taf Morgannwg Public Health Team said: ‘I am making three, distinct appeals today. Firstly, I urge people to remember the importance of social distancing. Even if they feel that they would not be badly affected by COVID-19 if they were to test positive for it, to know that if they were to pass it on to older or more vulnerable family members, friends or colleagues it could be extremely serious, even fatal.

“Secondly, if you have been advised by contact tracers that you should isolate because you have had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 then you must follow this instruction. That means not leaving your home for any reason at all.

“Finally, if you have been abroad and have returned from a country on the UK quarantine list, then you must not go out for 14 days. In addition, having a negative test result within the 14 days isolation period does not mean people can end their isolation sooner than 14 days. Through not observing self-

isolation guidance on return, it can have serious effects on other families and communities.”

“Our investigations into a number of cases of COVID-19 have indicated that a lack of social distancing, in particular by a minority of the 18-30 year age group, has resulted in the spread of the virus to other groups of people.

“Despite the lower infection rates in Wales, COVID-19 has not gone away. It remains the responsibility of everyone to help prevent the spread of this virus – that is, by self-isolating when asked to do so, staying two metres away from others, and by washing hands regularly.

“I understand that these measures are not easy to adhere to, and may make our work and social lives a little more difficult, but they are absolutely essential for keeping our communities safe and for protecting ourselves and others – including the most vulnerable.”