Wales

Coronavirus in Wales: Students to be given paid NHS roles

Vaughan Gething

Final year medical students, nurses and midwives are to be brought into paid roles in the NHS.

More than 5,000 letters have been sent to retired health care professionals urging them to return.

Social care workers will also be given access to personal protection equipment.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething announced the moves during a daily Welsh Government briefing.

The deaths of two further patients in Wales were announced on Saturday, bringing the total to five.

Public Health Wales said a total of 280 people had tested positive for Covid-19, an increase of 89.

The true number is likely to be higher.

Pharmacies will be allowed to open an hour later and close an hour earlier, and shut for two hours during the day to allow them to restock.

On the decision to close pubs and cafes, Mr Gething said: "We know that it has a direct impact on people's lives and livelihoods.

"But our priority is to protect people's health, and to save lives.

"Our decisions are being informed by the latest scientific advice and modelling about the speed at which the virus is already spreading."

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Image caption The Duke of Wellington pub in Cardiff on Friday was virtually empty

The Welsh Government also announced that it is providing up to £7m of additional funding to councils so that they can help families of pupils who rely on free school meals, but are unable to receive them due to school closures.

Councils across Wales are making temporary arrangements which include setting up collection facilities in schools, delivering food, or providing vouchers from local food retailers.

A more comprehensive package of support for vulnerable families is expected to be announced soon.

Education Minister Kristy Williams said: “It is vital that children who receive free school meals are able to continue to benefit from this support during this period of uncertainty."

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Image caption Tenants have been given protection for the next few months

Tenants of private landlords in Wales will be given three months protection from eviction.

An emergency law will be introduced by the UK government to help people during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Welsh Government confirmed it will apply to people who rent properties in Wales.

'Extraordinary times'

Giving notice of the UK government's plan to introduce the law against evictions, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "No renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home, nor will any landlord face unmanageable debts.

"These are extraordinary times and renters and landlords alike are of course worried about paying their rent and mortgage.

"Which is why we are urgently introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started."

A Welsh Government spokesman added: "Whilst it is right that tenants in Wales benefit from this measure, we need to do more to address the underlying issue of possession notices being issued in the first place. We will continue to do all we can to support tenants in Wales."

Katie Dalton, director of Cymorth Cymru said: "We are pleased to hear that the Welsh Government will be banning evictions, as no-one should be made homeless during this pandemic."

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