Coronavirus: Urdd Eisteddfod ‘monitoring the situation’

Picture by Llinos Dafydd

The organisers of one of Europe’s largest youth festivals which is to be held in May have said that they are “monitoring the situation” regarding coronavirus.

The Eisteddfod yr Urdd festival is due to be held at Kilford Farm near the town of Denbigh this year during the 25-30 May half-term week.

Earlier this week Wales’ chief medical officer warned that cases of coronavirus are expected to peak in May or June.

Dr Frank Atherton said that while there were no plans to cancel mass gatherings yet, any decision would be “guided by the science”.

“We are very keen to use the science to drive our response to this particular outbreak,” he said.

The Eisteddfod yr Urdd festival regularly attracts an attendance of 90,000 participants from across Wales. Apart from a break between 1941-45 for the Second World war, the festival has been held continuously since 1929.

The Urdd also runs camps in Llanrgrannog, y Bala and Cardiff which are attended by tens of thousands of young people every year.

“The Urdd is continuously monitoring the situation and listening to expert advice on the matter,” a spokesperson for the Urdd said.

“Our camps have an action plan in place to deal with any situation that could arise.

“The same thing is true for events organised in our name and we will contact stakeholders immediately should this change.”

Just one coronavirus case has been confirmed in Wales so far, in Swansea.

The Welsh Government said today that Coronavirus would be added to a list of so-called “notifiable diseases” in Wales. The listing of the disease as notifiable places a legal responsibility on medical professionals to tell health officials of suspected cases immediately.

 

Human-to-animal

Today England saw the biggest day-on-day increase in coronavirus cases, bringing the total number to 80.

There are also three cases in Scotland and three in Northern Ireland.

England’s Health minister Edward Argar told BBC Breakfast the UK was “still very much” in the first “contain” phase of the government’s four-part response to the virus.

He said the government would not move on to the second phase – known as the “delay” phase – unless the Chief Medical Officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, advised it “on the basis of specific changes in circumstances”.

Meanwhile, authorities in Hong Kong have warned people to avoid kissing their pets, but also to not panic and abandon them after a dog repeatedly tested “weak positive” for coronavirus.

The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said experts unanimously agreed the results suggested the dog had “a low-level of infection and it is likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission”.

Medical experts, including from the World Health Organization (WHO), had been investigating the case to determine if the dog was actually infected or had picked it up from a contaminated surface. The WHO has said there is no evidence animals like dogs or cats can be infected with the coronavirus.

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Sian Rees
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Sian Rees

It might be worth mentioning that in 2001, the Urdd held ‘Gŵyl yr Urdd’ (=festival) rather than ‘Eisteddfod yr Urdd’ (=eisteddfod), because of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. They used tv studios in Caernarfon and Llanelli as platforms to hold the festival and broadcast it live on S4C.

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Good move. Not an ideal alternative but about the best in the circumstances.