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Coronavirus Update from Alun Cairns

Update from South Wales Police

I joined a conference call with the Chief Constable, Matt Jukes, to discuss the current challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic. As we ensure people are respecting social distancing rules, I want to pay tribute to the police who are providing increased presence. This will be particularly important at visitor hotspots over the weekend. Matt Jukes was keen to respond positively.

Those who flout the rules are forcing the government to keep restrictions in place for longer – or, worse, force them to restrict us further.

I know that everyone will join me in thanking the police for all they are doing to keep us safe at this time. They are on the frontline protecting us and I know that there is a tremendous feeling of gratitude towards our police from people across the country.

Domestic Abuse

It’s with sadness that I also discussed with the police the increased risk of domestic violence. The opportunity to report offences could be more difficult so strong partnerships are in place with local support groups, including Atal y Fro, across Barry and the Vale.

The police have asked me to highlight the 999 55 contact number – which triggers a silent response, that may help a more sensitive situation.

Priority Access to Supermarkets

As readers will be aware from my last bulletin, I have been frustrated that the Welsh Government hadn’t followed the UK model to prioritise the most vulnerable patients with Supermarkets.

Last week, I wrote to the First Minister, along with parliamentary colleagues, asking him to consider implementing the same policy that is being used by the UK Government.

I am pleased to confirm that the First Minister, Mark Drakeford AM, has today announced that the Welsh Government will provide major supermarkets with the database of those in the Vulnerable category. This will allow the vulnerable people to access priority booking for online delivery and, therefore, provide a sense of security during this hugely testing time.

At present, we are still awaiting the detail of how the system will work in practice. I am also conscious of how the letters to vulnerable residents was significantly delayed in Wales and will keep a close watch on the delivery of this pledge – that the database will be made available over the course of today and tomorrow. It’s vital that this is done as quickly as possible.

Crisis Support Team – Vale of Glamorgan Council

In response to the letter sent out by the Welsh Government to vulnerable residents who now form part of the shielding group, the Vale Council has set up a Crisis Support response.  This team will contact them to ask what arrangements they have in place and what help is needed.  Where people do not have support in place, the Crisis Support Team will offer to arrange for a basic free weekly food parcel to be delivered, as currently planned by Welsh Government.

Alternatively, if people prefer shopping to be done for them, which they pay for themselves, the Crisis Support Team will aim to put this in place. There will also be a service for those who require befriending support.

The Council is working with Age Connects and GVS, who will coordinate a local group, to do this.

Vulnerable people can contact the Crisis Support Team on 01446 729592 from 0800-1700 Monday to Friday (starting Friday 10th April). Outside of these times calls will be diverted to the emergency out of hours line. Please note this service is specifically aimed at supporting vulnerable citizens. Please do not use the service unless you are in crisis.

UK Residents Abroad

Over recent weeks I’ve been working with many Vale of Glamorgan constituents who have been abroad in all parts of the world and needed to return home.

I am pleased to see the safe return of many constituents and subsidised commercial flights returning to the UK from key tourist destinations.

When constituents return to the UK, they should ensure they self-isolate for the required period of time. This is often 12 days.

The FCO has a dedicated email for your feedback. You can send your comments to [email protected]

Financial Boost to the Charity Sector

In this evening’s Coronavirus briefing from the Chancellor at Downing Street, the UK Government committed up to £750 million for the charity sector, with the UK Government matching public donations pound for pound.

This is a welcome intervention by the Government as they seek to support our many excellent charities who provide advice, information and services in a range of key areas.

Remember:

Stay at Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.

If you would like to see more advice, please visit my website which has a Coronavirus page. This contains information on health, travel, help for businesses, among other things: https://www.aluncairns.com/coronavirus

I hope you found this helpful.

Kind regards,

Alun

Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP
Vale of Glamorgan

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