Dawn Bowden is the Labour Senedd Member for the Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituency.
A massive thank you
I am sure that like me, you will want to say a massive thank you to all those involved with the vaccination programme. In the Aneurin Bevan Health Board area, like other parts of Wales, many people have now received their first jab and the first four priority groups were offered a vaccine within the target date.
As your Member of the Senedd, and working with MP Gerald Jones, we have tried to help those constituents in Rhymney who might have received their invitation but to a community vaccination centre out of the area. We have been successful in redirecting some constituents to local GPs.
It is important to remember that the first jab provides increased immunity but it is important to allow the three weeks for the vaccine to take effect, and to keep following the rules on social distancing, hand washing etc. The second jab will follow as the vaccination programme continues to roll out to further groups. Invitations have been issued and jabs are in progress for other groups in the priority list.
Signs of progress
The latest infection data is showing some easing in the number of new cases and consequently a slow reduction in the pressure on our hospitals. Let us hope this continues as less sickness is good news overall, and our hospitals need some space after a very tough winter. Please keep playing your part by sticking to the rules.
The ‘work from home’ message continues for another three weeks but the First Minister has outlined a path towards easing the restrictions with some hope for non-essential retail and hairdressers after the next review due on March 8. If all goes well, we should have a further phased easing of the restrictions by Easter.
Slow return to schools
The children of key workers and vulnerable children have of course continued in school. Now with the steady reduction in the rate of infection it means that the plans for a return of some of our youngest children to school after the February half-term can be implemented. I hope this proves to be a success so that we can make further plans for other age groups as we move forwards.
There are also plans for those young people following vocational courses and who need time to undertake practical assessments etc.
My regular briefings with the police in the Upper Rhymney valley continue and we have recently discussed some significant issues that will need an effective response by the police and the local community. Remember you can report issues of concern to the 101 number (999 in an emergency) and the police will take anonymous reports about such serious issues as drug dealing and related crime.
Rhymney High Street
I am pleased that discussions with Caerphilly County Borough Council about improvement work on Rhymney High Street is now looking to move forwards in the new financial year from April. We will have more news to report on this soon.
“More than a bypass” – Report by the Bevan Foundation
I was recently pleased to see a report by the Bevan Foundation that looked at the major improvements being made to the A465 Heads of the Valleys Road and how this major public investment can best be used for communities along the route, like Rhymney. With the final section from Dowlais to Hirwaun to be improved in the coming years the next Senedd term will be the time to maximise the benefits of the road.
- Support announced for businesses still affected by ongoing restrictions
- Historic rule changes make it easier for LGBT community to give blood
- Man released on bail after armed police incident
- Drug dealers jailed for combined nine years and four months
- Caerphilly teenager one of five charged with murder of Ryan O’Connor
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