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Council working with city’s universities and police to tackle spread of COVID-19

Swansea Council, South Wales Police and the city’s two universities are continuing to work together to encourage local communities to help tackle the spread of Covid-19.

Everyone in Swansea is being urged to act responsibly during the current firebreak to help reduce the R rate and the number of cases.

Police and council officers are encouraging and supporting individuals and businesses to abide by the restrictions, but they are also warning they will take enforcement action against anyone who deliberately flouts the rules.

Both Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity St David’s have put support packages in place to help thousands of students get through the pandemic safely.

South Wales Police Superintendent Trudi Meyrick said: “We must make maximum good use of the final week of the fire break to bring down the spread of the disease and to avoid further harsh measures being needed, especially in the run up to Christmas.

“The small minority who won’t play by the rules will not be allowed to disrupt the lives of everyone else – they must take the consequences.

“The national firebreak is intended to keep communities across Wales safe, while affording our NHS and Test, Trace and Protect services an opportunity bring the second wave of the pandemic under control.

“Like all police forces in the UK, our preference has always been encouraging voluntary compliance, but we will act against those who blatantly disregard legislation intended to keep them and the wider public safe.”

Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) have put in place extensive safety measures for students on campuses and in the community.

At Swansea University campus security, Student Services’ community team and local police patrol the local area and student accommodation to help keep students safe.

An extensive care network offering vital assistance to those students required to self-isolate is also in place, which includes on and off campus grocery delivery programmes.

The University also has extensive wellbeing services and any student experiencing difficulties can access a wide range of welfare and mental health services including TogetherAll, a free anonymous, digital mental health service, peer support, courses, resources, support sessions, group programmes and counselling.

Students can also contact the Students Union, the Welfare Team, [email protected], their academic mentor or College Disability Coordinator and access signposting information should they need to contact the NHS, charities or other agencies.

At UWTSD measures have been put in place to support students’ wellbeing and learning. Marshals have been deployed at the entrance of its buildings in SA1 Swansea Waterfront to ensure compliance with Covid-19 measures.

Swansea University’s Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Rhodes said: “While the vast majority of students are observing the Welsh Government and University Covid-19 regulations, we know that some students do need reminding of the rules and why they are in place. Swansea University will continue to work with our local partners to promote and enforce adherence to the regulations and offer help and support where it is needed, to ensure the safety of our students, staff and wider Swansea community.”

Meetings are taking place with those companies providing student accommodation to ensure safeguards are put in place to protect those living there and in the wider community.

Earlier this week Swansea University launched an investigation and has now taken disciplinary action following reports of serious breaches of Welsh Government and University Covid-19 regulations by students last weekend.

Professor Medwin Hughes, Vice-Chancellor of UWTSD, said: “We are grateful to our students for adhering to our health and safety requirements and to the staff who are supporting them.

“We have reviewed our Student Code of Conduct to ensure students understand their responsibility and are kept up to date with and comply with current Welsh Government directives as well as Public Health Wales, NHS Wales guidance relating to Covid-19, including the need to socially distance, wear face-coverings, quarantine, self-isolate, or reporting for contact tracing.”

He added: “UWTSD expects its students to conduct themselves in a manner that respects others, safeguards our local communities and does not bring the reputation of the University into disrepute. Where a student’s conduct does not meet the expectations outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, disciplinary action will be taken.”

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: While the majority of people have followed the guidance and acted responsibly to help stop the spread of the virus and keep people safe, there are a small minority who deliberately continue to flout the rules’

‘I fully support the university and police in the action they have taken to enforce the rules. We don’t want to take action against anyone but will do so if selfish individuals break the rules which are in place to keep families and communities safe’

“Coronavirus is deadly and anyone who fails to understand that is putting lives at risk. We can only reduce the spread of the virus if we all take responsibility and all follow the restrictions until the are no longer needed. By working together with everyone playing their part we can get through this quicker together.”