News in brief: Coronavirus cases continue to climb in Cardiff and Caerphilly

The Ivor Novello statue in Cardiff Bay. Photo Nation.Cymru

There have been 42 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours according to the latest update from Public Health Wales.

Twelve of those are in Caerphilly, which has now recorded 44 confirmed infections in the last week. There have also been nine new cases in Cardiff taking the total to 59 in the last seven days.

In the last month Cardiff has recorded 179 cases of Covid-19, 48.8 cases per 100,000 of the population, just lower than the monthly figure for Wrexham which had 71 for the month, a rate of 52.2 per 100,000 people.

Figures suggest the spike in Wrexham is now stating to decline however, with just two new cases today and five for the week.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said yesterday that six clusters in Wales amounting to more than 30 cases of Covid-19 in the last week had come from four flights from Greece, two of which landed in England.

Sixteen cases are linked to people who took Tui flight 6215 to Cardiff on August 25, and Dr Robin Howe, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, confirmed that all passengers on the latest flight from the Greek resort that landed at Cardiff last night, received a letter from Public Health Wales advising that they should self-isolate on their return home.

Testing is also being arranged for all passengers who were on board last night’s flight.

“All passengers are being followed up by their local Test Trace Protect teams They should all self-isolate at home, as they may become infectious, even if they have no symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should book a test without delay,” Dr Howe said.

“We also want to remind the public that if you have recently travelled outside the UK there may be restrictions on your return.  Advice on travelling abroad, including the latest information on quarantine requirements on returning home, can be found on the Welsh Government and FCO websites. “

Overall, there have now been 18,105 confirmed infections in Wales since the start of the pandemic.

There have been no new deaths due to the virus in the last 24 hours as the total number of fatalities dating back to March remains at 1,596.

There were 6,776 tests carried out across Wales on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the latest figures published by the Office of National Statistics show number of deaths in Wales due to Covid-19 are continuing to fall.

There were 11 deaths in Wales during the week ending 21 August, down from 14 the previous week. Four of these were in the Betsi Cadwaladr health board area – including three patients from Wrexham who died in hospital.

There were no deaths registered at all in 15 council areas or across the Hywel Dda and Swansea Bay health board areas for the week ending 21 August.

Total deaths in Wales reported by the ONS now stand at 2,564.

The ONS total includes all deaths both suspected and confirmed to be involving Covid-19 in care homes, people’s homes and hospices up to 21 August and registered by 29 August.

Public Health Wales statistics only report confirmed Covid-19 cases, mostly in hospitals.

Shadow Minister raises concerns over suicide rate in Wales

Andrew RT Davies MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Health, has voiced concern following the latest report from the Office of National statistics about the prevalence of suicide in Wales.

The figures for 2019, indicate that although the number of deaths from suicide in Wales for males has been “volatile”, due to the relatively small number reported, the overall number of deaths per 100,000 is now 18.8 compared to 16.0 in 1981 (165 deaths to 248 deaths).

In England, a total of 4,017 deaths were registered as suicide among men in 2019, up 5.7% from the total in 2018 (3,800. This equates to a male suicide rate of 16.7 deaths per 100,000 last year, the highest rate observed since 2000.

The average for England and Wales is 16.9 deaths per 100,000, itself the highest rate observed since 2000.

Figures for female suicides in Wales increased from 4.0 deaths per 100,000 in 2016 (57 deaths) to 5.8 deaths (82 deaths) last year.

In 2019, a total of 1,299 deaths were registered as suicide among females in England, up from 1,221 deaths registered in the previous year. In recent years, there have been increases in the suicide rate among females in England with the 2019 rate (5.2 per 100,000) being the highest observed since 2004.

The England and Wales average is 5.3 per 100,000, the highest seen since 2004.

Mr Davies said: “Let’s not forget that these figures don’t show the attempted suicides, only, tragically, those where a death was recoded.

“And each death from suicide is a tragedy, first for the person going through such psychological turmoil, then their families, but also for the emergency and medical services who have to work through each case, and in some cases the teachers of children who lose a parent.

“We Welsh Conservatives have – throughout the pandemic and lockdown – been concerned at diagnoses missed and treatments not started, and in many cases, we tend to think just about people with physical conditions.

“However, anecdotally, we hear about the psychological effect that the lockdown has had on people, some who may have been experiencing difficulties before.

“So it’s absolutely critical that the Health Minister and his party get things moving, assess how many people may be at risk, and get some of our most vulnerable people the help they need as a priority before we have a crisis in our country.”

Broadband router. Picture by MediaDS

£500,000 technology boost for Cardiff Council

Cardiff Council has secured £500,000 of funding from the Welsh Government to improve the infrastructure which transports fibre optic broadband around the city.

The work in Cardiff, which will be completed next year, will join up with ongoing investment in the duct network along the M4 corridor, bringing benefits across the South Wales region.

Across Wales more than 95 per cent of premises can access superfast broadband following the Welsh Government’s Superfast Cymru programme. In addition, a further rollout of gigabit speed fibre broadband is taking place in those areas which are not yet able to receive it, with a recent extension focussing on areas with less than 90 per cent coverage.

Businesses and organisations in Cardiff’s creative industries sector have been working closely with Cardiff Council for the past 18 months and together they have identified the need for the city to expand its existing fibre optic duct network. This is to increase the capacity of the ‘Cardiff Creative Network’ aimed at providing the gigabit broadband speeds required by the sector.

Improvements to the duct network would also have benefits for active travel plans in the city – enabling the potential for data to be collected which could be used to calculate traffic flow, pedestrian footfall and cycle usage as well as monitoring air quality.

Cardiff Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas said: “Cardiff is already established as one of the UK’s creative powerhouses and the sector supports thousands of jobs and contributes over £1 billion to the economy every year. We want to build on that success and help the sector continue to flourish and one way we can do this is by improving the city’s digital infrastructure.

There is more to be done, but this important funding from Welsh Government will enable us to start delivering the connectivity needed by the industry and will also support our ongoing work to harness ‘smart’ technology to improve day to day life for people who live and work in Cardiff.”

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