Public Health Wales statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
This statement will be updated daily at 12pm
Updated: 12:00 Tuesday 24 March
Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said:
“60 new cases have tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wales, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 478, although the true number of cases is likely to be higher. Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now circulating in every part of Wales.
“One further death of individuals who have tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported to us, taking the number of deaths in Wales to 17.
“We offer our condolences to the family and friends affected, and we ask those reporting on the situation to respect patient confidentiality.”
Yesterday (23 March 2020) the UK government introduced new measures, which were also reinforced by Welsh Government.
NEW RULES ON STAYING AT HOME AND AWAY FROM OTHERS
The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. The three new measures introduced yesterday (23 March 2020):
Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public
Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
These measures are effective immediately. Welsh Government, working with UK Government, will keep these measures under constant review and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.
STAYING AT HOME
You should only leave the house for one of four reasons.
Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.
These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.
If you work in a critical sector outlined in UK Government guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.
Dr Shankar said: “People no longer need to contact NHS 111 if they think they may have contracted Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Advice about the virus is available on the Public Health Wales website phw.nhs.wales/coronavirus.
“Symptoms include: a high temperature, where you feel hot to touch on your chest or back; and a new, continuous cough. This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. If you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual.
“Anyone with a suspected coronavirus illness should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. They should only contact NHS 111 if they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home, their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days.
“Only call 999 if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, do not call 999 just because you are on-hold to 111. We appreciate that 111 lines are busy, but you will get through after a wait.
“The public play a very important role in slowing the spread of infection. By strictly following the latest measures, you will protect yourself, protect the most vulnerable and help to reduce the pressure on NHS Wales and minimise the impact of the virus.”