Coronavirus morning headlines as police check people crossing the Welsh border

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Police patrols are being held on the Welsh border to stop non-essential journeys.

Gwent Police shared a picture of a police car stationed at the Second Severn Crossing, also known as the Prince of Wales Bridge, on Wednesday. The force warned people “do not leave or enter Wales without good reason. Abide with the rules.”

It follows after people from as far away as Cheltenham and the West Midlands were turned around by police in the Brecon Beacons.

Car parks at Snowdon and Cadair Idris have also been closed to visitors, with Welsh Government rules stating that exercise must start and end from your home where possible.

Crowds of people were also seen at beaches like Barry earlier this week.

GP lays bare scale of task ahead with Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine

The huge amount of work needed to vaccinate the Welsh population from coronavirus has been laid bare by a Welsh GP.

The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be rolled out across Wales at the start of January, was officially approved earlier this week.

So far the UK has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate 50 million people – with the rollout starting on January 4.

But Colwyn Bay GP Helen Alefounder has also spoken out about the practical challenges of getting facilities ready to welcome thousands of people through their doors.

Speaking to Radio Wales on Thursday, Dr Alefounder said: “We know that GPs have been asked to look at administering the vaccine as we do with the flu vaccine every year but we haven’t actually been given specifics yet or dates as to when we will actually have them and start. But planning is already in full swing.”

She added: “It is logistically huge. It’s just simple things like if you’re inviting people down for a vaccine that there’s places to park and making sure you can maintain social distancing and making sure you can allow people time to sit afterwards after their vaccine in case of reactions. It’s not just as simple as someone turning up and having a vaccination, it’s everything that has to be considered with it, particularly with all the guidelines we have to consider with Covid. It’s flu on a massive scale with many more complications.”

Find out the number of Covid cases in your area using this tool:

Covid heroes recognised in New Year Honour List 2020

Healthcare and ambulance workers are among the many who have been recognised for their work this year as part of the New Year Honour List.

Among those honoured is Carol Doggett, senior matron in intensive care at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, who accepted her MBE on behalf of NHS staff and coronavirus patients who were treated in intensive care.

Carol, 51, has been honoured for services to leadership and nursing care for intensive care patients and staff, particularly during Covid-19.

In one 48-hour period in mid-December, 14 patients died with Covid-19 at Morriston Hospital. There have been family tragedies, with several members of the same family becoming critically ill and requiring admission to the intensive care unit. Carol also saw 13 members of her staff become patients on the intensive care unit, as well as three of their partners.

Other health and care workers whose work during the Covid-19 pandemic has been recognised include Vicki Broad from Neath, head of long term care at Hywel Dda University Health Board; Professor Tamas Szakmany, from Newport, a critical care consultant at the Royal Gwent Hospital; Richard Royce Lee, from Caerphilly, strategic commander at St John Ambulance; and Lisa Jane Randell from Carmarthenshire, a senior support worker.

You can read the full list here.

Tier 4 extended to millions more people in England

Millions more people in England will be subject to greater coronavirus restrictions as more areas enter tiers three and four on New Year’s Eve.

England’s health secretary Matt Hancock has announced that more areas will move into Tier Four from Thursday.

He said: “Sharply rising cases and the hospitalisations that follow demonstrate the need to act where the virus is spreading.”

The health secretary told MPs that the majority of new cases recorded in the past day “are believed to be the new variant”. Mr Hancock added: “Unfortunately this new variant is now spreading across most of England and cases are doubling fast.

“It is therefore necessary to apply Tier Four measures to a wider area, including the remaining parts of the South East, as well as large parts of the Midlands, the North West, the North East and the South West.”

He said it meant three-quarters of England will be in Tier Three or Tier Four by Thursday morning.



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