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Call for people across Wales to help global fight against Covid-19

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RESEARCHERS urge people to share experiences through a simple survey which will influence how future outbreaks are tackled as concerns grow about spread of new strain

People across Wales are being urged to share their experiences of Covid-19 as concerns about a new strain of the virus grow.

Scientists working to combat coronavirus are keen to capture details from the region which they say could influence the global effort to tackle the pandemic.

Researchers are particularly keen to speak to anyone who has tested for the disease – whether the result was positive or negative – as they work to understand how concerns about infections have manifested locally and internationally.

They are urging people to take part in the IQVIA COVID-19 Active Research Experience (CARE) survey, the results of which will be used internationally to further the fight against the pandemic.

Anyone aged 18 or over who has been tested for Covid-19 can do so by going to www.helpstopcovid19.com.

Tim Sheppard, who is leading IQVIA’s work on the scheme, said: “News of this latest strain of the virus has really highlighted the importance of getting the greatest possible picture of how the pandemic is affecting people locally and further afield, which is why we’re asking for support from across Wales.

“We believe the insight and experiences of people locally could prove invaluable as we try to build a full picture of all of the factors affecting those who have had – or have suspected they had – coronavirus across the UK.

“This information will be vital in not just influencing how Covid-19 is tackled now, but in preventing further outbreaks not just in the UK but on a global scale. The difference people can make by taking just a few minutes to fill in our simple survey is great.

“We really do need the experiences of people in Wales to be reflected in our findings. The perspective they can bring is of huge interest to us.”

Researchers are examining all of the factors involved in the pandemic across the UK.

They are investigating how personal and social circumstances, ethnicity, age, type of employment and underlying health conditions all impact upon how people have been affected by the illness.

In addition, IQVIA CARE is seeking to establish the role of vitamins, herbal medicines and prescription medicines in symptom relief, or preventing recurrence of COVID- 19 related illnesses.

Survey participants can – if they wish – consent to further follow-up, including taking part in additional clinical research, such as COVID-19 clinical trials of potential treatments that may ease symptoms – and potentially save lives.

Mr Sheppard, IQVIA’S Senior Vice President, added: “We want to help identify the most effective treatments and understand any other factors that help lessen the toll of this virus.”

IQVIA CARE is an international public research survey, led by IQVIA, a global leader in clinical trials and real world evidence research. IQVIA is also delivering the UK COVID-19 treatment clinical trial, ACCORD, involving UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the National Institute for Health Research and partners in the pharma, biotech sector and the UK Government.

The IQVIA CARE survey aims to:

  • Capture COVID-19 in the UK community and record symptom severity and progression over time.
  • Provide understanding of individuals at highest risk of developing serious consequences from exposure to COVID-19, for example, the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Communities and the elderly.
  • Help understand the role of personal and social circumstances, non-prescription and prescription medications, and to learn more about whether herbal remedies, vitamins, and alternative medicines make the COVID-19 symptoms better or worse.
  • Assess the impact of self-isolation and the UK lockdown strategy and crucially provide valuable data to inform the exit strategy on easing lockdown, and the National Health Service (NHS) response to any second wave of the virus.
  • Volunteers who join the IQVIA CARE survey can, in complete confidence, share basic demographic information, any current symptoms, and some medical history. They will thereafter be periodically prompted to provide updated information about any symptoms and diagnosis status in order to create a worldwide picture of virus progression over time.

IQVIA will apply decades of privacy protection expertise in handling personal health information for research purposes, employing a wide range of methods to secure, manage, and report information responsibly. IQVIA CARE received UK Ethics Approval and will employ a variety of processes, safeguards and controls in connection with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and other regulatory requirements.

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Ceredigion dog breeder fined for failing to comply with dog breeding licence

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A CROWN COURT has upheld a conviction that the dogs under the care of Mr. Jones were kept in overcrowded conditions in contravention of the minimum space standards required by the license conditions.

Other convictions were overturned.

On 27 November 2020, and 22December 2020, the Crown Court heard an appeal by Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones, of Dorwan Kennels, Penrheol, Talsarn, relating to convictions for failing to comply with dog breeding licence conditions. 

Mr. Dorian Wyn Jones had previously been convicted at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court of running a licenced dog breeding establishment far in access of the number allowed on his licence and that the dogs in his care were kept in overcrowded conditions.

The Court heard evidence that Mr Dorian Wyn Jones had been granted a licence for 33 dogs. However, during a visit undertaken by Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection Officers on the 07 August 2019, they found 91 dogs at the premises excluding puppies, in breach of his license. The dogs were kept in pens of a size that were inadequate for the number of dogs kept within them.

On 9 February 2021, Dorian Jones was fined £1000 for the overcrowding offence, and ordered to pay legal costs amounting to £2500. 

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Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, dies aged 99

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The Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen’s ‘strength and stay’ for 73 years, has died aged 99.

Prince Philip’s health had been slowly deteriorating for some time. He announced he was stepping down from royal engagements in May 2017, joking that he could no longer stand up. He made a final official public appearance later that year during a Royal Marines parade on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

Since then, he was rarely seen in public, spending most of his time on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, though moving to be with her at Windsor Castle during the lockdown periods throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and where the couple quietly celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in November 2020. He also celebrated his 99th birthday in lockdown at Windsor Castle.

The duke spent four nights at King Edward VII hospital in London before Christmas 2019 for observation and treatment in relation to a “pre-existing condition”.

Despite having hip surgery in April 2018, he attended the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a month later and was seen sitting beside the Queen at a polo match at Windsor Great Park in June. He and the Queen missed Prince Louis of Cambridge’s christening in July 2018, but he was seen attending Crathie Kirk near Balmoral in August, and driving his Land Rover in the surrounding Scottish countryside in September.

It is expected that flags on landmark buildings in Britain will be lowered to half-mast as a period of mourning is announced.

The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford has expressed his sadness on the news of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and offered condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal family on behalf of the Welsh Government.

He said: “It is with sadness that we mourn the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Throughout his long and distinguished life, he served the crown with selfless devotion and generosity of spirit.

We offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, his children and their families on this sad occasion.

He will be missed by the many organisations that he supported as Patron or President over many decades of service”.Andrew RT Davies, the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, has led tributes to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose death was announced today.

In light of the sad news from Buckingham Palace, campaigning has been paused with immediate effect.

Mr Davies said: “This is a very sad day for the United Kingdom.
“The Duke of Edinburgh led a remarkable life, excelled himself with his career in the Royal Navy, was the strength and stay to Her Majesty The Queen, and has left a legacy to the nation through the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

“Dutiful, devoted, and diligent, his like will never be seen again, and Welsh Conservatives offer their deepest condolences to The Queen, and the rest of the Royal Family.”

Adam Price, leader of Plaid Cymru said: “On behalf of Plaid Cymru, I send my condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and her family. Many young people in Wales will have benefited from the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme, a reflection of many decades of his public service. Thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.”

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Elin Jones calls for a plan to revive Aberystwyth town centre

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AS NON-ESSENTIAL retail re-opens on April 12, many of larger shops in Aberystwyth town centre will not be re-opening, with head offices scaling back on their presence on high streets across the UK.

In Aberystwyth, their absence will be particularly obvious with many of these retailers being located along Great Darkgate Street. Multiple retailers such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Clinton Cards, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, M&Co and Lloyds Pharmacy will not be reopening leaving a large proportion of empty properties.

These closures are in stark contrast to many independent retailers on Aberystwyth’s other streets looking to expand or start.

Commenting on this issue, Elin Jones said: “It’s time for a major rethink for Aberystwyth’s Great Darkgate Street.

“The multiple larger retailers are turning their back on our town centre and now we need to re-focus these large premises in order to make them more attractive and accessible to independent, local businesses. There have been smaller independent shops opening along other streets in Aberystwyth and throughout Ceredigion, so there is definitely businesses who could be persuaded to have a presence on the high street.

‘It would be great to see a partnership effort in the town to persuade the absentee landlords to give rent-free start up opportunities, to re-purpose the larger premises to suit smaller businesses and to ensure the buildings look attractive on the street.

‘Welsh Government has confirmed that no rates will need to be paid for this whole financial year and therefore now is a great opportunity to support small local businesses to reclaim their place on Great Darkgate Street.

‘It is the town’s largest street and needs to be a star attraction in Ceredigion.’

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