Inside town facing lockdown after becoming the epicenter of the Wales coronavirus


A five-minute drive from central Caerphilly, tucked away in a housing estate, is the site of a new walk-in coronavirus testing center. The site, which opened at the Caerphilly Leisure Center earlier today, responds to the growing number of coronavirus cases in the region.

The Caerphilly council on Friday released a statement saying the region had witnessed an “alarming increase” in new infections over the past week, responding to the fact that Caerphilly had seen 62 positive cases around that time – the most high from all over Wales.

Due to the increase in the number of cases, care homes across the county have again closed to visitors and residents of Caerphilly have been urged to follow social distancing and hygiene measures to avoid another severe lockdown In the region.

Late this morning at the test site, the parking lot seemed full and a line had formed outside a marquee, with people waiting to be tested.

In response to the number of people showing up to the site today, the Aneurin Bevan University Board of Health made an announcement calling for people with only symptoms to attend to prevent further spread of the virus because the center was “extremely busy”.

Back in downtown Caerphilly, however, it was almost business as usual for the staff at Cafe Glanmor.

Owner Lynne Evans said it was “a little quieter,” but didn’t notice a noticeable difference in the number of people coming to eat and drink at the cafe, where a one-way system is in place and staff serve customers wearing visors.

“I expected it to be quieter,” she said.

The Caerphilly Leisure Center Walk-In Test Center

Glanmor owner Lynne Evans (left) with face shields staff members

When asked how people currently react to the rules and social distancing measures in the cafe, Ms Evans said it worked well and the vast majority of people obey them.

One of the key points made by officials in light of the growing number of cases in Caerphilly has been the importance for local residents of respecting social distancing and hygiene measures.

» Initially when we had to take everyone’s name and phone number, a few didn’t want to, and they were told they couldn’t come in unless they did. But the majority of people have been fantastic, ”said Ms. Evans.

Around the corner, at the local Morrisons supermarket, a security guard at the gate said it was quieter than usual for the time of day.

Outside the store, Senghenydd’s Lesley Smith admitted she’s worried about the way things are going at Caerphilly.

“I am vulnerable and my partner is vulnerable,” said Ms Smith, 66, wearing a mask.

Ms Smith said she was protecting when the pandemic started, but about two months ago she started going out for some things.

“I wore masks and I wore gloves today when I was shopping. When I go to the stores, I put on my mask, hand gel, everything, ”she says.

She is concerned that people are not taking enough precautions seriously.

“Some do, but the majority don’t and that’s worrying. “

Lesley Smith of Senghenydd after shopping at Morrisons

Signs of social distancing around downtown

Ms Smith said that just yesterday, while shopping in Iceland, a person with children came too close to her as she stood in line and had to politely ask them to keep their distance , to which they did not respond well.

She is now worried about the increasing number of cases in Caerphilly.

” It’s frightening. I will be having my flu shot this month and will be happy to have it. But like I say, a lot of people don’t bother to distance themselves and wear masks and stuff.

If there was another lockdown, Ms Smith said she still wasn’t sure if it would force everyone to adhere to social distancing rules.

“I think the majority will, but you’ll always have some who aren’t, and they don’t think they’re going to catch it.” But I don’t want to catch it, and I don’t want to pass it on to my partner.

As he walked into the supermarket, another shopper shouted as he passed, “They should shut up, it’s getting worse. “

Signs of social distancing around downtown

In Castle Court Shopping Center, directly across from Morrisons, a constant stream of people were walking through the shops, most of them following the one-way marks on the floor.

One family that went shopping was the Piana family, who all said they were afraid to be outside because people didn’t take social distancing and hygiene precautions seriously enough.

Speaking of the potential for a localized lockdown in Caerphilly, mum Rose Piana said: “I hope that happens, honestly. “

The Piana family – Rose, Andy and her daughter Amelia

She said she was especially tired of seeing people breaking social distancing rules by inviting large numbers of friends and family into homes.

The whole family, including Rose, her husband Andy and her daughter Amelia, are afraid of the potential impact of the underlying health issues if they catch coronavirus. They are also taking extra precautions, as they suspect Amelia may have contracted the virus at the start of the pandemic and are unwilling to take more risks than necessary.

“This has not been confirmed, but she [Amelia] was really sick in February with an unknown viral infection in his chest, ”Piana said.

Ms Piana added: “The doctor said, ‘I can’t confirm what it is because there is no test.’ And then when she fell with sepsis afterwards, we panicked.

Caerphilly was “a little calmer” today, following yesterday’s warning

Now the family is taking all possible precautions, by wearing masks, wearing hand sanitizers in public, and respecting social distancing measures. But they still feel in danger with other people.

“There are a lot of idiots, who still don’t understand social distancing,” said Mr Piana, who has diabetes.

“I don’t know if you have an underlying health problem, and that’s none of my business to be honest with you. I work on a basis that I do not know.

Mr Piana believes that instead of putting the emphasis on hygiene above all else, the Welsh and UK governments should put more emphasis on social distancing and mask wearing.

Customers wait to enter Wetherspoon’s Malcolm Uphill pub

Ms Piana added that she would like to see more efforts to stop the spread of the virus between different locations if the lockdown measures are reinstated.

“I think if they had another lockdown [in Caerphilly], they should prevent people from entering Cardiff, ”she said, explaining that she did not want to see the virus travel between regions.

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Speaking yesterday on the recent increase in coronavirus cases, Caerphilly Council Chief Philippa Marsden said: “The increase in the number of Caerphilly cases is of great concern and I cannot stress the importance enough vital to social distancing and tracking measures we should all be watching to limit the spread of this deadly virus.

“The coronavirus has not gone away, but it is clear that the behavior of some people endangers the health and well-being of our community. Although the virus can be mild in some people, we all know that it can be fatal for the elderly and vulnerable in our society. .

“The behavior of local populations over the next few days will help control the spread of the coronavirus and we must all play our part.”


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