Enhanced public health action in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil

Enhanced public health action is being taken in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil local authority areas to limit the spread of Coronavirus following an increase in cases.

The enhanced action includes asking people to limit the use of public transport to essential purposes only, such as for education, work, essential medical appointments and food shopping.

Local people are also being advised that they should not visit care homes, unless it is an end-of-life visit. In such cases full PPE will be required.

The enhanced action is the result of a multi-agency Incident Management Team including Public Health Wales, Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board, and Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff local authorities.

Dr Kelechi Nnoaham, Director of Public Health for Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board and Chair of the multi-agency Incident Management Team, said:

“We are grateful to the vast majority of residents in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority areas for sticking to social distancing guidelines, and for the part they have played in protecting older and vulnerable people from Coronavirus.

“Sadly, there is evidence that some people are ignoring or disregarding these guidelines, which is why transmission has increased, and we are now having to take enhanced public health action to limit the spread.

“Our message for the public is that Coronavirus has not gone away, and it can be a very serious illness - especially for older and vulnerable people.

“We must all play our part to protect our vulnerable or older friends, family members and loved ones. Whilst we may not be seeing hospital admissions at the moment, it will only be a matter of weeks if we don’t act now. This is based on what are observing in Europe and what is scientifically known about how the virus can quickly spread from community transmissions to hospital admissions.”

Other enhanced public health actions being undertaken in these areas will include:

  • Asking people to wear three layer face coverings or masks, where it is safe to do so, whilst in work, in supermarkets and other indoor or crowded public spaces
  • Reinforcement of existing messages around social distancing and the need to follow guidelines
  • Enhanced contact tracing to identify source of infection and understand epidemiology
  • Proactive work with businesses/premises to ensure compliance with social distancing
  • Identified link workers to target getting specific groups to come forward for testing
  • Messaging specifically to schools and children
  • Introduction of mobile testing units
  • Employers encouraging staff to work from home where possible
  • Additional checks on returning travellers
  • Alerts to primary care and hospitals of rising numbers and to advise active testing to identify cases.

The public has a vital role in preventing the spread of Coronavirus by always observing social distancing guidelines – that’s staying two metres away from others - washing hands regularly with soap or by using alcohol based sanitiser, and working from home if they can.

If you or a member of your household develop symptoms of cough, fever or change in sense of taste or smell, you must book a test for Coronavirus promptly to help control the spread of infection.