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COVID-19 update 70

This update was sent to the Cymorth mailing list on 13 March. You can view the original email here and sign up to receive future mailings here

People experiencing homelessness prioritised for COVID vaccine

On Wednesday 10th March Welsh Ministers announced that people with recent experience of homelessness will be prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccine as part of priority group 6. The Welsh Government has also published guidance which encourages vaccination teams to:

  • be flexible and trauma informed
  • take the vaccine to people in homelessness accommodation settings rather than requiring people to attend mass vaccination centres
  • take an inclusive approach to try and ensure that no-one gets left behind
  • work in partnership with local authority homelessness teams and third sector support providers

Wales was the first nation to make this decision, as reported by several media outlets, including ITV WalesThe Big IssueMetro and Sky News.

Over the past two months Cymorth Cymru has written papers, delivered presentations and spoken at a number of Welsh Government meetings to argue the case for this policy and provide evidence of the increased risks facing people with experience of homelessness. We are really pleased with the decision by Welsh Ministers and the inclusive approach set out in the guidance. 

Review of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restriction) (No.5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 

On 12th March the First Minister announced changes to COVID-19 restrictions in Wales, following latest 3-week review. This was accompanied by a written statement from the First Minister and a statement by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales. The Alert Level 4 guidance has also been updated.

The key changes to restrictions include:

From Saturday 13 March:

  • No more than 4 people from 2 households will be able to meet in their local area outdoors, including in gardens. Children under 11 and carers do not count towards this limit. There must be no indoors mixing and social distancing should be followed.
  • Outdoor sports facilities can reopen, including tennis courts, golf courses and bowling greens. A maximum of 4 people from 2 households can take part in activities using local sports facilities.
  • Indoor care home visits can resume for one designated visitor, with the permission of the care home.

From Monday 15 March:

  • All primary pupils and those in qualifications years will return. Schools will have the flexibility to bring in year 10 and 12 pupils, to support them to progress to the next stage of their learning, and more learners will return to colleges. There will also be flexibility for in-school check-ins for all other pupils. All learners will return after the Easter break.
  • Hairdressers and barbers can reopen by appointment only.

From Monday 22 March:

  • The first steps to re-open non-essential retail will begin. Restrictions on the sale of non-essential items will be lifted for those shops, which are currently open.
  • Garden centres will also reopen.

Written Statement: Review of The Public Health (Protection from Eviction) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021   

The Minister for Housing and Local Government has published a written statement following a review of the regulations to protect renters from eviction during the pandemic. The Minister has decided that the regulations are still necessary and will make a decision in the near future about whether to extend them beyond 31st March 2021. 

Updated Supported Living guidance   

The Welsh Government has updated its Supported Living guidance following the changes to COVID-19 restrictions announced on Friday. The main changes relate to the new rules about meeting people outdoors. The easy read guidance has also been updated. 

Updated care home visiting guidance   

The Welsh Government has updated its guidance for care home providers on how to enable safe visiting during the coronavirus pandemic following the changes to COVID-19 restrictions announced on Friday.  

Extension of Statutory Sick Pay Enhancement Scheme   

The Welsh Government has decided to extend the Statutory Sick Pay Enhancement Scheme until 30th September 2021.

Ministers have also agreed to expand eligibility of the scheme to include ancillary workers in larger ‘hostel’ type supported accommodation arrangements. This is where catering is provided and there are large communal areas. In such instances kitchen staff, cleaners and security staff are in close contact with people resident and are covered by the scheme. This change is effective from 5th March.

A reminder that the scheme has applied to homelessness and housing-related support staff since the following dates:

  • 14 December - Support workers in supported housing schemes, floating support, emergency accommodation
  • 24 December - Homelessness outreach workers

Shielding: Changes from 1st April

The Minister for Health and Social Services has published a written statement about plans to pause the shielding advice after 31st March. The Welsh Government shielding guidance has been updated to reflect the change in policy from 1st April. 

COVID-19 vaccination programme weekly update: 9 March 2021

The Welsh Government has published its COVID-19 vaccination programme weekly update for 9th March 2021. This includes details of the groups currently being vaccinated, progress against key milestones and upcoming milestones. 

The Minister for Health and Social Services has also published a written statement which confirms that over one million people in Wales have now received their first dose of the vaccine. 

COVID-19 Vaccine: Clarification on the definition of severe asthma for inclusion in cohort 6

The Minister for Health and Social Services has published a written statement to provide clarification on how severe asthma has been defined for inclusion this cohort. 

Framework for COVID-19 testing for hospital patients in Wales

The Minister for Health and Social Services has published a written statement about the Welsh Government's framework for COVID-19 testing for hospital patients in Wales. The framework can be found on the Welsh Government website.

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© Cymorth Cymru 2021
Company Registration No: 5093332
Charity No: 1116774