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Cardiff introduces precautionary lockdown measures

Photo credit: Cardiff Council

Wales’s capital city is to introduce lockdown measures to counter a recent rise in COVID-19 infections.

From 6pm Sunday (September 27), residents and visitors in Cardiff  MUST adhere to the following restrictions:

  • People will not be allowed to enter or leave the Cardiff County Council boundary area without a reasonable excuse;
  • People will no longer be able to form, or be in, an extended household (sometimes called a “bubble”). This means you are not allowed to meet indoors with anyone who is not part of your household (people you live with), unless you have a good reason, such as providing care to a vulnerable person;
  • People must work from home wherever possible.

Enforcement action will be taken by the police and Environmental Health officials in the event of non-compliance with the measures.

Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “We do not take these steps lightly. The Council has been closely monitoring the infection rates in Cardiff throughout this crisis, alongside health experts and Welsh Government, and we’ve already moved earlier this week to restrict visits to Hospitals and Care Homes. However, in consultation with Welsh Government, we all feel it is now prudent to bring in stronger restrictions. By introducing these precautionary measures at this early stage, we aim to prevent the exponential spread of the virus, and hopefully minimise the duration of the lockdown.

“In taking this course of action we’ve had to weigh up the economic damage, the social cost, the impact on mental health. But we’ve seen in the past what can happen if there is a delay in bringing measures in. Delaying by a matter of days could mean many more lives could be lost.

“Curtailing households meeting indoors and restricting travel will have an impact on all our lives, but it is important people understand that these decisions are informed by a highly effective Test, Trace and Protect Service which has been crucial in helping us understand the recent surge we have seen in Cardiff.

“What it shows is that the majority of cases are found in family networks which have broken the extended household rules, and who have been meeting more people indoors. Also, it’s become clear to us over the past few days that we are seeing clusters springing up in the city which are related to Cardiff residents who catch the virus when they visit surrounding areas which have high infection rates and are then bringing it back home into their family settings. There are also some cases which have been seeded here from outside the city boundaries, from visitors and workers from surrounding areas and further afield. That was always going to be a possibility as the city is a hub for workers and shoppers, but the sudden rise over the past five days and the reasons for that rise mean it’s time to act now before we concede anymore ground to the virus.

“It is therefore vital that we all recommit ourselves to these guidelines, and redouble our efforts in order to protect our families, our friends, and ourselves from harm. Cardiff’s residents did a fantastic job following guidelines in the past and I know everyone will do their best to pull together again as we look to force the virus into retreat before the autumn and winter months take hold.

“These are worrying times for us all, and our best response is to draw on those qualities which Cardiffians have in abundance – our resourcefulness, our good humour, and our community spirit. Cardiff Council will continue to serve the city in every possible way in the weeks ahead, and together we will get through this.”

Currently the infection rate in Cardiff stands at 46.1 per 100,000 and the COVID-19 test rate stands at 3.4% of those tested returning a positive result, which all point towards lockdown measures being required. The Council and health experts monitor infection rates, clusters and evidential data on a daily basis before making any representations to Welsh Government on any proposed lockdown measures. Welsh Government in discussion with local authorities and the health board then decide on the course of action required.

Charles Janczewski, Chair of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said “Our priority is to keep the population of Cardiff safe and in partnership with the local authority we have been monitoring the Covid 19 cases.

“The decision to have a local lockdown has not been taken lightly but in doing so we are hopeful that this will reduce the number of new infections. Numbers though may continue to rise before we start to see a fall, due to the incubation period of the disease.

“We are very aware of the sacrifices we have all made so far this year and these additional measures will enable us to continue to protect our families and the most vulnerable in our society. We will keep the measures under regular review and formally review their impact in two weeks’ time.

“It is important that residents adhere to the guidelines set out and stay within their local authority area. This means that residents of Cardiff should not cross boundaries unless it is for essential reasons such as travelling to work where this cannot be done from home, providing care and support, and buying essential items.  Households should also now suspend any extended household arrangements they have made, and not meet indoors with other families outside their own household, apart from certain exemptions such as on compassionate or welfare grounds. You can still meet friends and family outdoors while following social distancing guidelines, up to a maximum of 30 people.

“As a UHB we already paused visiting to our hospital sites this week to protect patients and our services and have enforced the wearing of masks in all of our healthcare premises.

“It is important that we all take a personal responsibility to follow the rules which will help keep Cardiff safe.”

The council is asking people to please keep in mind that the purpose of the restrictions is to prevent the transmission of the virus, including to those we care about – both within the area and outside it. People will need to make judgements for themselves about what is reasonable, in line with that overarching principle in order to keep themselves and their wider community safe.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ includes going to work where you cannot work from home, attending a school or college outside of the area, or undertaking a caring responsibility e.g.childcare or caring for an elderly relative, attending a medical appointment, shopping for essential items that cannot be purchased locally or ordered online or using public services that are not available locally. It also includes leaving your local area to visit family or close friends on compassionate grounds if necessary.

But the basic message is that people should stay in their immediate area as much as possible. You do not have a reasonable excuse to leave the area to do something if you could be reasonably expected to be able to do it within the area. This also works the other way around. Those living outside the area should NOT enter the County Borough on non-essential journeys it if at all possible.

  • People will only be able to meet outdoors for the time being. People will not be able to meet members of their extended household indoors or form an extended household for the time being.
  • People who live in the Cardiff County Borough area MUST work from home unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so.
  • Indoor public venues, such as pubs, bars, restaurants, play centres, community centres, places of worship, leisure facilities and local attractions WILL remain open but these will only be accessible to those who live within Cardiff and you should only attend with members of your immediate household (people you live with).
  • Masks or three layer face coverings are now mandatory in Wales and MUST be appropriately worn in ALL indoor spaces and where social distancing can’t be maintained, unless you have a valid or medical exemption for not doing so – view Welsh Government guidelines. Residents  are being to asked to volunteer to wear them in all busy outdoor public spaces – including high streets and outside school gates at pick-up and drop-off times.
  • Schools, child care settings, universities and colleges WILL remain open and home to school transport WILL continue to operate in accordance with the latest Public Health Wales guidance -there’s more information available here:
  • People should not visit care homes, unless it is an end of life visit where full PPE will be required.
  • To reduce the likelihood of transmission from the hospitality industry, Welsh Government have already required all licensed premises to close at 10pm. This restriction includes stopping the sale of alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences after 10pm.
  • In addition to the above please continue to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser and maintain social distancing (2 metres).
  • The Council also strongly recommends that residents avoid using public transport unless it is for an essential journey (to access education, employment, medical appointments, or to shop for basic provisions).