Today’s briefing note is shorter than usual. A sign that things have improved dramatically since the start of the year.
But it’s important to remember – as always – that the pandemic isn’t over.
Remember the basics
It’s still important to stick to the basics in line with Welsh Government advice – hands, face, space, fresh air.
For many of us it’s become second nature. That’s a good thing.
Help keep your favourite pub safe and open
It’s also important that everyone does their bit to help keep pubs, bars and restaurants safe and open.
Most people have behaved responsibly since indoor hospitality reopened earlier this month.
But if you run an indoor hospitality business, or you’re thinking of popping to the pub for a pint, it’s worth reading this guidance…
Variant discovered in India
The variant of concern discovered in India is expected to become the dominant strain in the UK over time (as happened with the ‘Kent’ variant a few months ago).
The variant appears to spread more easily, although early evidence suggests vaccination is still effective against it.
Cases have been identified across the UK – particularly in Bolton, Blackburn, Kirklees, Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside.
Welsh Government hasn’t introduced any restrictions on travel in the UK, but advises you to avoid visiting these areas if you can.
There are more than 50 cases of the variant in Wales.
Eight in 10 eligible adults in North Wales have received a first dose of vaccine, while almost half have received both doses.
The local health board continues to offer short-notice appointments to certain age groups on a first-come first-served basis.
These are publicised on the health board’s social media accounts.
An online booking system will also be available soon – allowing people to book appointments at a time and date to suit them.
Effectiveness against variants
Data released in the last week shows the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are – after two doses – highly effective against the strain initially discovered in India.
Please attend your second dose appointment for the most effective protection.
We’re continuing to see a high number of people failing to attend appointments.
If you can’t attend or don’t want to be vaccinated, let the NHS know.
If you have concerns, please still attend your appointment so health staff can discuss them with you.
Vaccination provides the best protection from becoming seriously ill with Covid-19, and is our best way out of the pandemic.
You can read more about the vaccination programme in North Wales on the local NHS health board website.
Symptoms? Get a test
If you have coronavirus symptoms – or you’re identified as a ‘contact’ by the Track, Trace and Protect service – make sure you self-isolate and get a test.
Read more on the Welsh Government website.
You can now get a free test if you have a wider range of symptoms.
As well as the three cardinal signs – fever, a new continuous cough or a loss/change of taste and smell – people can now get a test if they have other symptoms too.
- Flu-like symptoms which are not caused by known conditions (such as hay fever), including muscle ache or pain, excessive tiredness, persistent headache, runny nose or blocked nose, persistent sneezing, sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing.
- Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known Covid-19 case.
- Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test.
Read more on the local health board website.
Useful sources of information
- Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board website – vaccination updates (North Wales)
- Welsh Government website – FAQs about current restrictions in Wales
- Public Health Wales website – regular statements