Coronavirus (COVID-19) Latest information

Coronavirus regulations Latest

Changes to self-isolation for fully-vaccinated adults

All adults who have been fully-vaccinated will no longer have to self-isolate if they are identified as close contacts of someone with coronavirus from 7 August, the First Minister confirmed today.

The changes to the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect (TTP) service for fully-vaccinated adults will come into effect from 7 August – the same day as Wales is expected to move to alert level zero, if the public health situation allows.

Children and young people under 18 will also be exempt from the need to self-isolate if they are also identified as close contacts of a positive case.

But everyone who tests positive for coronavirus or has symptoms must continue to isolate for 10 days, whether they have been vaccinated or not.

The TTP service will use the Welsh Immunisation Service to identify adults who are fully-vaccinated and who will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are identified as close contacts.

From 7 August, instead of instructing fully-vaccinated adults to isolate, contact tracers and advisers will provide them with advice and guidance about how to protect themselves and stay safe.

The TTP service will provide a “warn and inform” service for all fully-vaccinated adults and under-18s, who are identified as close contacts.

Some extra safeguards will be put in place for those working with vulnerable people, particularly health and social care staff, including a risk assessment for staff working in health and care and daily lateral flow tests. Members of the public will be strongly advised not to visit hospitals and care homes for 10 days.

Everyone identified as a contact of a positive case will continue to be advised to have a PCR test on day two and day eight, whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

The changes will help ease the pressure on vital services caused by the recent rapid rise in Covid cases, driven by the delta variant over the last two months.

Cases have risen by 800% since the end of May, when they were at very low levels. Over the last week case rates have started to fall in all parts of Wales.

Almost 80% of adults in Wales have been fully vaccinated – the best rates in the UK and some of the best in the world.

Announcing the changes to the self-isolation rules, First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“Self-isolation on symptoms or a positive test result continues to be a powerful measure in helping to break the chains of transmission and stop the spread of the virus. It is important we retain this, even for people who have been fully vaccinated.

“But we know a full course of the vaccine offers people protection against the virus and they are far less likely to contract it when they are identified as close contacts. This means they no longer need to self-isolate for 10 days.

“We can remove the need for self-isolation for the two million adults who have completed their vaccine course, helping to keep Wales safe and working.

“We are also removing the need for children and young people under 18 to self-isolate, recognising the impact long periods out of school and college is having on their well-being and education.”

The current system of support payments for people on low incomes who have to self-isolate because they have either tested positive or are a close contact of someone with the virus, will continue.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan added:

“Unfortunately, as the last couple of months have shown, the pandemic is still with us.
“We need everyone’s help to control the spread of coronavirus – everything we do has an impact on this awful virus.

“Removing self-isolation for people who have had a full course of the vaccine is a really positive step forward but it doesn’t mean the end of isolation for all of us. If we want to see the back of coronavirus, we all need to take this virus seriously and isolate on symptoms and get tested.

“It’s also really important everyone takes up the offer of vaccination. It’s never too late to get vaccinated in Wales – clinics are open in every part of the country.”

 

 

“Next steps towards a future with fewer covid rules” – First Minister gives latest Coronavirus update

Wales will move fully into alert level one from 17th July. The changes were paused four weeks ago because of the emergence and spread of the delta variant across the UK and to enable more people to be vaccinated in Wales.

And there will be further changes to the rules outdoors as Wales takes the first careful step towards a new alert level zero.

Alert level zero is set out in an updated Coronavirus Control Plan, which is published today. If the public health situation allows, Wales will move to this level on 7 August.

From 17 July, Wales will move fully to alert level one, including:

  • Up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation
  • Organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 seated and up to 200 standing
  • Ice rinks can reopen

Wales will also take the first step into alert level zero as the limits on the numbers of people who can meet in public places or at events will be removed. Outdoor premises and events will also have greater flexibility around physical distancing.

Also from 17 July other changes include:

  • New rules for children’s residential activity centres so children in groups of up to 30 can visit
  • A specific requirement for employees to provide comprehensive information on the risks and mitigations identified in the COVID risk assessment  with their employees

If Wales moves to alert level zero on 7 August, all premises would be able to open and most – but not all – restrictions will be removed and replaced with the ongoing requirement for all organisations and businesses to carry out Covid risk assessments. These will determine what reasonable measures are needed to be put in place to keep workers and customers and visitors safe.

There will also be no legal limits on the number of people who can meet others indoors, including in private homes.

Face coverings will continue to be required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport at alert level zero from 7 August, with the exception of hospitality settings.

The First Minister has also confirmed that people who have who have been fully vaccinated in the UK will no longer need to self-isolate if they are returning from an amber list country, in line with the position in England and Scotland.

You can read more on the latest announcement here.

You can find the latest COVID guidelines here.

 

 

 

Test Trace & Protect Service

The Gwent test, Trace and Protect Service continues to be busy tracking cases in our communities in Blaenau Gwent.

Self Isolation

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you must self-isolate at home for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. (Please see section on when to seek medical advice above). You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19.

• Self-isolation periods are for 10 days
• Self-isolation is for 10 days if you develop symptoms. People who develop symptoms should request a test. If the test is negative they can stop their self-isolation
• Self-isolation is for 10 days if you test positive for COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms
• Self-isolation is for 10 days if you live with someone or someone from your extended household has developed symptoms. If the person with symptoms then tests negative everyone can stop their self-isolation
• Self-isolation is for 10 days if you have been contacted by Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) to confirm you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Even if you have a test and it is negative you must still self-isolate for 10 days. This is because you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 and the virus can take time to show in your system.

New Regulations

The Welsh Government has strengthened the Coronavirus regulations by imposing a legal requirement for people to self-isolate if told to do so by NHS Wales Test Trace Protect Service.

The regulations were also strengthened to make it an offence to knowingly provide false information to the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect Service.

There is a duty to ensure employers cannot prevent an employee from following NHS Wales Test Trace Protect advice to self-isolate.

Full details of these regulations and further guidance will be issued shortly.

Self Isolation Payments

People told to self-isolate for up to 10 days will be eligible for financial support from Welsh Government.
People on low incomes can apply to receive a £500 payment if they have tested positive for coronavirus or they are asked to self-isolate by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. This also now includes those told to self-isolate by the NHS Test Trace Protect Mobile App.

A top-up payment is available for the social care workforce in Wales, to increase statutory sick pay to their normal wages if they have to take time off because they have coronavirus or are self-isolating.

For more information about financial assistance go to - https://gov.wales/self-isolation-support-scheme

Testing Positive for Coronavirus

If you test positive for Coronavirus you should not leave your home and must self-isolate immediately (Please see Guidance here). You will be contacted directly by a trained advisor from the Gwent Contact Tracing Service. To make this a success you will need to answer your phone when you receive this call, which may come from a withheld number.

If you need any support with shopping or prescription collections whilst you are self-isolating, please call us on 01495 311556 or let your trained advisor from the Gwent Contact Tracing Service know.

COVID 19 – Premises Improvement Notices

Premises Improvement Notice

Improvement Notices (ORANGE) have been served on the following premises in Blaenau Gwent following failures to comply with COVID-19 regulations.

Closure Notice

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media

Our social media accounts to follow are:

  • Facebook – @blaenaugwentcbc
  • Twitter -  @BlaenauGwentCBC

Community Support

For more information about what support is available in the community go to our Local Help and Support Page.

Council Buildings

All our Council buildings remain closed to the public. Our 24-hour secure Internet payments service is available for online payments.

For any other help and advice please call us on 01495 311556.

For Council Tax advice or help please call 01495 355212 or 01495 356010.

For Benefit advice or help please call 01495 353398.

Children's Play Parks

Parks in Blaenau Gwent are open. Please remember to observe social distancing and practice good hygiene. There is signage at our parks advising families of safe use at this time.

Aneurin Leisure Trust Services

Sports Centres & Parks

All Sports Centres in Blaenau Gwent are now open.

For the latest information go to - https://www.bglife.co.uk/

Parc Bryn Bach

For the latest information on Parc Bryn Bach please go to - https://parcbrynbach.co.uk/

Bedwellty House & Park

For the latest information on Bedwellty House & Park please go to - https://www.bedwelltyhouseandpark.co.uk/

Blaenau Gwent Libraries & Adult Education Centres

For the latest on Community Education please go to - https://aneurinleisure.org.uk/explore/community-education

If learners have any queries please contact your tutor or e-mail karen.bennett@aneurinleisure.org.uk

Libraries are now offering Browsing by Appointment and Computer Sessions by Appointment, in addition to Call & Collect and Home Delivery services. Please contact your local library for more information.

The service is also accepting walk-in customers - but please be aware that if a library is at full capacity you may be asked to wait outside. The safest way to guarantee your visit is to call ahead and make an appointment.

Library members can also access free e-books, e-audiobooks and e-magazines via the BorrowBox and Libby by Overdrive apps.

For more information about library services go to - https://aneurinleisure.org.uk/explore/libraries

For more information about Leisure & Culture Services go to - https://aneurinleisure.org.uk/

Business Advice

Restrictions Business Fund NDR Grant

The Welsh Government has launched the Restrictions Business Fund to support businesses that have been directly impacted by the additional restrictions put in place on the 4th December to control the spread of Covid-19. The purpose of the grant is to provide businesses with cash flow support and to help them survive the economic consequences of the restrictions introduced. The grant seeks to complement other Covid-19 response measures to support businesses, social enterprises and charitable organisations in Wales.

The fund consists of two separate grants:

  • Restrictions Business Fund Non Domestic Rate Grant
  • ERF Restrictions Discretionary Grant

For more guidance on how to apply or if you are eligible please visit the Advice for Business Covid-19 page.

or the latest advice and information for businesses in relation to Coronavirus please visit - https://gov.wales/business-and-employers-coronavirus

ERF Business Restrictions Fund

To support businesses into the New Year, On the 30 November the First Minister announced a £340m package of support directed primarily at the hospitality, tourism and related supply chain sectors. The fund will be split as follows:

  • £160m ERF Restrictions Business Fund: To provide operating costs support for short term impact for up to 60,000 businesses that are materially impacted as a result of national restrictions. Linked to the non-domestic rates system.
  • £180m ERF Sector Specific Support (operating cost) aligned to defined restrictions. Further information is available on the ERF Sector Specific Support page.

Please visit the Business Wales website regularly for updates on the fund and eligibility criteria -
https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/covid-19-support-business

Last Updated 5.30pm | 08.12.20
 

Useful Links

Important Information for Businesses

 

 

Waste and Recycling

Kerbside waste & recycling services & bulky waste collections are continuing as normal.

Local Recycling Centre

The Council’s New Vale Household Waste Recycling Centre located on Waun-y-Pound Industrial Estate and the new site at Roseheyworth, Abertillery, are open for pre-booked appointments only.

For more information go to -  https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/waste-recycling/household-waste-and-recycling-centre/

We ask everyone to continue to use their kerbside waste collections as normal and please recycle all that you can.

Waste Disposal Advice to Householders self-isolating for Coronavirus

If your household is self-isolating having identified symptoms of the Coronavirus, any household waste you accumulate in the 3 days (72 hours) before your normal day/date of collection will need to be set aside to be put out on the next collection date.

  • This is to minimise the risk of infection to others.
  • This does not represent any additional risk to yourselves.
  • Please place all personal waste, such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths securely in a plastic bag or bin liner.
  • This plastic bag should then be placed in another plastic bag and securely tied.

Thank you.

Funeral Attendance

The Gwent Local Resilience Forum, including the five Gwent councils, agreed that the number of mourners permitted to attend funerals at cemeteries within the five local authority areas of Gwent is 30.

The number of mourners permitted at Gwent Crematorium is 20.

Good social distancing and cleaning regimes will allow for a larger number of family groups or bubbles within the chapel.

 

 

Schools & Education

For the latest information about schools and education on this please go to our COVID-19 Latest Education Information webpage which is updated with the latest news as necessary.

For the latest Welsh Government information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and Education please follow the link to the Welsh Government website below:

https://gov.wales/education-coronavirus

Latest WG Update document on childcare & Work Based Learning and the newly introduced Curriculum Bill Newsletter

WG Update 24.02.2021 - Covid 19 Education, Childcare & Work Based Learning Update

Link to the Vulnerable children webpage: https://gov.wales/vulnerable-children-and-safeguarding-coronavirus
Link to Safeguarding in settings webpage: https://gov.wales/education-safeguarding-guidance-coronavirus  

Early Years Services

Flying Start Hubs

All Flying Start hubs are open to support families with children aged 0-3, however access is by appointments only.  Health Visitors, Family Support Workers, Early Language and Dads Support Workers are still seeing families face to face for essential support and vital health checks via baby clinics. 

If you live in a Flying Start area and would like support please get in touch with the health visiting team:
Blaina Office – 01495 354713 or Tredegar Office – 01495363604.  Or email Sherelle.Jago@Blaenau-Gwent.gov.uk

The Flying Start Facebook group also offers a lot of online support from the team, plus parent to parent support and ideas.  Please join us via the following link:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/flyingstartbg

For any other general information, advice or assistance please contact our Family Information Services on 08000 32 33 39.

Early Years Services
Welsh Government Childcare Offer
For the latest information on the Childcare Offer in Blaenau Gwent visit https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/health-wellbeing-social-care/support-for-children-families/early-years-childcare-play/childcare-offer/information-for-parents/

Registered Childcare
Registered childcare continues to operate, for up to date information on registered childcare available within Blaenau Gwent visit: https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/resident/health-wellbeing-social-care/support-for-children-families/family-information-service/#:~:text=Blaenau%20Gwent%20Family%20Information%20Service%20provides%20free%2C%20quality%2C,activities%2C%20health%20issues%2C%20parenting%20support%20and%20much%20more.

Blaina ICC is closed to the public but Flowering Shrubs Private Day Nursery is open at Blaina ICC.

Vulnerable people

• Cwrt Mytton - operating as normal but closed to non-essential visitors, with the exception of pre-booked family visits in line with Welsh Government guidance.
• Augusta House - open to restricted planned respite sessions.
• Home Care - operating as normal.
• Community Options - all buildings are closed to visitors but where appropriate staff are supporting     citizens in their own homes as an alternative to day service support. Some staff are also providing online day support sessions. Limited sessions are being provided for citizens who have a complex health needs at both Bert Denning and Lake view buildings. 
• Supported Living Service - operating as normal but closed to non-essential visitors, with the exception of pre-booked family visits in line with Welsh Government guidance.

We are continuing to look after our most vulnerable people and home care and domiciliary services are continuing. If you have particular concerns about a vulnerable person please contact us on 01495 311556.

Age Cymru is offering a free check-in-and-chat telephone service for anyone 70 or over who lives alone, to provide reassurances, answer basic queries and link people to local services and support during the Coronavirus outbreak.

All you have to do call the Age Cymru Advice Number on 08000 223 444 or email enquiries@agecymru.org.uk to register for a call.

Welsh Government Vulnerable Children and Safeguarding in Settings: Guidance 

Education safeguarding guidance: coronavirus
Vulnerable children and safeguarding: coronavirus

 

 

Blue Badge

All Blue Badge applications can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-blue-badge

Council Tax

There is no public access to any Council buildings. Our 24-hour secure Internet payments service is available for online payments. For any other help and advice please call us on 01495 311556.

Please use online or telephone methods. View your Council Tax account, pay by Direct Debit, check your band and switch to paperless billing by using our online service https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/council-tax/council-tax-online/

Housing Advice

Housing Advice:

Many people are worried about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it could affect their housing. Use the information below to help work out what COVID-19 means for you. You can also check the Shelter Cymru website for more detailed information https://sheltercymru.org.uk/get-advice/coronavirus/

The Housing Advice Centre remains closed. If you need any housing assistance, please contact the following numbers:

  • Housing Register
    01495 354600 (Option 1)
  • Homelessness
    01495 354600 (Option 2)
  • Cwmcrachen Site
    01495 357813 (Repairs & Site Management)
  • Disability Facilities Grants
    01495 357813
  • All Other Queries
    01495 311556

Housing Benefits

We can now accept Housing Benefits and Council Tax Reduction online here https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/housing-benefit/benefits-online/

Meals on Wheels

This service continues to operate.

Registration Services

Notice of Marriage Appointments , Birth Registration and Death Registration Appointments

Notice of Marriage and Birth Registrations are  strictly by appointment only.

Notice of Marriage appointments - Please telephone 01495 353371 to arrange an appointment

Birth Registration appointment - Please telephone 01495 353372 to arrange an appointment

Death Registration interviews continue to be conducted over the telephone. Please contact 01495 353372 for assistance relating to a death registration

Marriage and Civil Partnership Ceremonies

Marriage and Civil Partnership ceremonies at Blaenau Gwent Register Office, Tredegar, resumed on 1st July, 2020 but are now subject to restrictions on the number of guests permitted to attend during the current pandemic in accordance with the Welsh Government's guidance on social distancing.

  • The Register Office – 2 Guests permitted only
  • The Homfray Room – 6 Guests permitted only

Please telephone 01495 353371 for Marriage/Civil Partnership enquiries.

Social distancing guidance will be followed at all times, ensuring that staff and visitors are kept safe and to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

 

 

Civic Centre Payments

Council buildings are now closed to the public. There are other ways to pay Council tax, for more information go to - https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/council-tax/pay-your-council-tax/

Trading Standards

Fraudsters are increasingly targeting the public and organisations with emails, texts, ‘phone calls and WhatsApp messages offering advice and treatment for the coronavirus, as well as setting up fake websites selling products and offering ‘cures’.

Our Covid-19 Trading Standards page has some good advice - https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/trading-standards/trading-standards-covid-19-scams/