News in brief: Two further Covid deaths confirmed as case numbers surge across Wales
Public Health Wales has confirmed two further deaths due to Covid-19 and 1,256 new positive tests for the virus over the 48 hours up to 9am on Sunday morning.
The newly recorded deaths were in the Betsi Cadwaladr and Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board areas and take the total number of deaths in Wales due to Covid since the start of the pandemic in March last year to 5,575.
Cardiff (158) recorded the highest number of new infections in today’s update, followed by Wrexham (114) and Flintshire (95).
In the seven days up to 30 June 3,015 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Wales, the highest weekly total since the first week in February and seven of 22 local authorities currently have weekly case rates in three figures.
All six local authorities covered by Betsi Cadwaladr health board have rates over 100, with Wrexham at 213.3 per 100,000 people and Flintshire just behind with 203.7. The weekly positivity rate in Wrexham is also the highest in Wales at 10.3 per 100,000 tests.
The other areas with case numbers over 100 are Denbighshire (159.9) Cardiff (134.1) Conwy (133.1) Gwynedd (117.2) and Anglesey (134.1).
The national case rate is up from 81.1 yesterday to 95.6 and the positivity rates has jumped from 4.9% to 5.5%.
The 5.0% positivity threshold was a crucial metric for the government in lifting Covid restrictions over the past two months.
At today’s government press briefing Health Minister Eluned Morgan also confirmed there has been a small increase in hospitalisations as cases have climbed this week but said that due to the mass vaccination programme: “We are increasingly confident this wave will not cause the same level of serious illness and harm as the previous waves we have experienced in Wales.”
Majority in Wales support social distancing measures for those fully vaccinated
The majority of people questioned in the latest Public Health Wales’ ‘How Are We Doing in Wales’ survey, say people should continue social distancing and wearing masks even if they have received both doses of Covid vaccine.
The survey interviews hundreds of adults every two weeks to gain an insight into how the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting the physical, mental and social wellbeing of people in Wales.
The key findings in the latest study are:
• 42 per cent of people agreed that people who had had both vaccines should be able to meet each other without social distancing or wearing masks; 58 per cent disagreed.
• 8 per cent of people said they thought vaccination protected them ‘completely’ from coronavirus infection and 58% that it protected them ‘a lot’.
• Of the 9,516 adults interviewed between weeks 31 and 62 (November 2nd 2020 to 13th June 2021) 16 per cent reported having had Coronavirus.
• Of participants that reported having coronavirus symptoms, 39 per cent said their symptoms had lasted for at least 4 weeks; with 21 per cent saying their symptoms persisted for more than 12 weeks.
• Fatigue was the most commonly reported symptom of long COVID followed by shortness of breath.
• Older adults, females and individuals with chronic health conditions (diabetes, heart disease, lung disease or cancer) were more likely to have symptoms lasting for at least 4 weeks.
The latest survey interview 600 people aged 18 and over across Wales between 21-27 June.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to confirm the lifting of all legal Covid restrictions in England from 19 July, later today and the SNP government is aiming to do the same in Scotland from 9 August.
Ministers are due to review the restrictions in Wales next week.
End of US trade dispute hailed by UK minister
A deal to settle a long-standing trade dispute between the UK and the United States will be good news for the Airbus factory at Broughton, according to a UK government minister.
The agreement brings to an and the 17-year conflict over government subsidies to Airbus the US manufacturer Boeing, with the UK conceding ground in a bid to smooth the way to a new wide-ranging trade deal.
The Broughton factory plant employs more than 5,000 staff and produces the wings for all Airbus’ aircraft.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the deal means, “more jobs and opportunities here in Wales – high-quality jobs and future growth for the industry, and we’ve just had the good news that 70 more aircraft have been ordered,”
“That will bring more business into this factory and of course that’s because there’s no longer those tariffs being charged on those wings.”
FAW criticised for ‘inadequate’ communication over Women’s Premier League changes
The Football Association of Wales has been criticised by a government minister for the way it communicated controversial changes to the top level of women’s football.
A major restructuring of the Premier League for next season, announced in May, has resulted in the relegation of Abergavenny, Caerphilly’s Cascade Ladies YC and Briton Ferry Llansawel, with Barry Town United and The New Saints gaining admission to the top-flight.
Abergavenny finished fourth last season and has been among the top teams in Wales over the last 10 years, while TNS doesn’t currently have a women’s side.
Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, held what she described as “a constructive and useful meeting” with the FAW after the issue was raised in the Senedd and in said she felt it was important “to speak directly with the FAW, to better understand its plans and the impact any decisions will have on our ambition to ensure more inclusive access to sport in Wales.”
“Of course, I fully support the FAW’s ambition and focus on developing and improving the women’s game in Wales,” she added.
“However, as the FAW acknowledged in our meeting, the way proposed changes to the structure of the women’s domestic game have been communicated, particularly to the players affected, has clearly been inadequate. The FAW recognises that it needs to urgently change the way it communicates with clubs and players, and also improve its communication with Members of the Senedd and the Welsh Government.
“The FAW has given me a commitment that it will do everything it can to support the clubs and players affected by the changes, and to engage more closely and proactively with Members of the Senedd and the Welsh Government in future. I look forward to the FAW delivering on that commitment.”
Last week Monmouthshire council branded the decision to relegate Abergavenny to the second tier “outrageous”, and called for the move to be reviewed.
Cllr Paul Jordan submitted a motion to full council calling for more openness from FAW regarding the relegation.