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Police week of cyber crime action

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DYFED POWYS POLICE helped people and businesses stay safe online as part of a Cyber Crime Week of Action.

The campaign was launched on Monday (Mar 2) by the National Crime Agency, who is working with a range of partners, including national and international law enforcement and the tech sector, to respond on a major scale to the most significant cyber-crime threats.

In recent years, a growing number of criminals have turned to using the internet and computers to disrupt IT infrastructure, steal or compromise the integrity of private data, commit fraud, steal people’s identities or to abuse vulnerable people.

Dyfed Powys Police’s specialist Digital and Cyber Crime Unit (DCCU) and key partner Get Safe Online are focussing on the cyber-crime threats affecting people and businesses within Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys.

This week, the specialist detectives, high tech forensic investigators, analysts and researchers that form the DCCU raised awareness of cyber-crime and worked to ensure people have the knowledge and confidence to protect themselves from cyber-crime within the force area.

Detective Sergeant Rob Gravelle, of the DCCU, said: “Cyber-crime is not something that only happens in big cities. It is happening in Dyfed Powys right now and is an increasing problem. The DCCU is a specialist team at Dyfed Powys Police brought together to reduce cyber and cyber-enabled crime. We are a busy unit investigating all manner of digital or cyber-crime ranging from online fraud to child sexual exploitation. We are taking part in this Cyber Crime Week of Action to reduce the risk of people becoming victims of cyber-crime by offering them guidance on how to stay safe online and how to report an incident if someone is a victim of cyber-crime.”

To launch the week of action, a series of special assemblies took place at comprehensive schools throughout the force area to highlight to teenagers the dangers of ‘sexting’.

There was a focus on key cyber-crime issues including online child sexual exploitation, cyber bullying, revenge porn and online fraud through social media, training for police officers on investigating cyber-crime as well as a Get Safe Online Live event in Aberystwyth Town Centre which took place on Thursday (Mar 5).

A pop-up shop will be open in the town centre for shoppers, workers, businesses and visitors to call in and get expert advice from DCCU officers, Get Safe Online staff and Aberystwyth Neighbourhood Policing team.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said: “Get Safe Online is delighted to be working in partnership with Dyfed Powys Police in educating people and businesses on how to avoid becoming a victim of cyber-crime. A significant amount of cyber-crime is preventable. We are actively encouraging consumers and businesses to ensure they have the latest security software installed on their computer to browse safely online. By taking basic crime prevention steps people can significantly reduce their chances of becoming a victim of crime online.”

Top tips for online safety:

• Delete suspicious emails and social media messages without clicking on links

• Install up-to-date antivirus security software

• Keep your computer up-to-date with the latest software patches and updates

• Be security-conscious on social media sites: log out when you’re done and don’t connect to people you don’t know

• Regularly change and use strong passwords and don’t share them with anyone

Be careful about what you share online, don’t give away more personal information than you need to on social media sites and back up important files and media content to safe and secure storage solutions i.e. external hard drive/ trusted cloud storage.

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Outdoor hospitality given go-ahead and rules on mixing outdoors relaxed in Wales

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SIX people will be able to meet outdoors in Wales from Saturday 24 April while outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26 April as cases of new COVID-19 infections continue to fall, First Minister Mark Drakeford has confirmed today.

The current rule provides for up to six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) from a maximum of two households to meet outdoors.

The new rules from Saturday will allow six people (not including children under 11 years of age or carers) to meet outdoors.

People should observe social distancing from people from outside their household or support bubble when meeting others outside.

The rules for meeting indoors remain unchanged.

The First Minister has also confirmed outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April 2021.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said: “The public health context in Wales remains favourable, with cases falling and our vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength. Because meeting outdoors continues to be lower risk than meeting indoors, we are able to bring forward changes to allow any six people to meet outdoors.

“This will provide more opportunities for people, especially young people, to meet outdoors with their friends. This will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact on people’s wellbeing.

“I’m also pleased to confirm outdoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen from Monday 26th April.

“These changes will help the hospitality sector recover after a difficult twelve months.

“It is thanks to the continuing efforts of people across Wales we are able to introduce this change. Together, we will continue to keep Wales safe.”

On Friday (23rd April 2021), the First Minister will confirm further relaxations to the covid rules that will come into force on Monday 26 April 2021.

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Scientists issue urgent appeal for help on ground-breaking Covid genetic study

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SCIENTISTS involved in a ground-breaking COVID-19 genetic research study are urgently asking people across Wales who caught the virus to donate a small amount of blood to their project.

To help encourage as many people as possible to join the study, volunteers are now able to quickly and easily book an appointment for a nurse to visit their home and donate a sample.

The unique GenOMICC COVID-19 Study, which is being delivered in Wales through Health and Care Research Wales, analyses the genes of people who have had the virus to discover why some experienced mild or no symptoms while others became extremely ill. The study is already contributing to the fight again COVID, with preliminary results helping identify possible new treatments.

study open to anyone who caught COVID but didn’t need hospital treatment

However, for the study to continue to make progress, the scientists urgently need to recruit 2,500 more people from all backgrounds. Along with seeking the help of members of Asian and Black communities, they’re also keen for more men to volunteer.

The home appointment system has already proved popular when the scheme was launched in Scotland and Bradford earlier this year – and with lockdown restrictions beginning to be eased in Wales, organisers are hoping for a similar response from people across the country.

“This study has one key objective – to help us understand why COVID-19 has impacted different groups in different ways,” said Dr Matt Morgan, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospital of Wales and Specialty Lead for Critical Care at Health and Care Research Wales.

“Across the UK, a disproportionate number of people who ended up in hospital have been male as well as people with Asian and Black heritage – that’s why we need people from these groups in particular to join the study as soon as possible.”

“If you are eligible, please register and join the project. You’ll be making a direct contribution to helping improve our knowledge of the virus and discovering new ways of beating it.”

scientists issue urgent appeal for assistance to help them identify new treatments

Dr Kenneth Baillie, the study’s Chief Investigator, said: “We’re appealing for more volunteers from all walks of life to come forward and register. We need to find people who tested positive for COVID but experienced either mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment. To maximise the study’s potential, it’s important these volunteers are similar in age, gender and ethnicity of those people who were severely affected and hospitalised.”

Professor Sir Mark Caulfied, Chief Scientist at Genomics England added: “The quicker this research can be completed, the faster we can solve the COVID-19 puzzle and protect vulnerable people.

Genetic research into COVID-19 is now playing an increasingly important role in our fight against the virus, enabling us to identify new forms of the virus and develop treatments.

“The findings from the GenOMICC COVID-19 Study will improve the treatment, care and outcome for those most at risk and lower the number of deaths.”

Dr Nicola Williams, Director of Support and Delivery at Health and Care Research Wales, said: “It’s vital we learn as much as possible about COVID-19 and to do that we need people to volunteer to take part in research. By introducing an appointment booking system, the GenOMICC COVID-19 Study is giving people the opportunity to contribute to potentially life-saving research from their own homes. These contributions can help provide the evidence we need to give all patients the best possible outcome.”

The research project is open to anyone who tested positive to COVID-19 but experienced mild or no symptoms and didn’t require hospital treatment – volunteers can register online here.

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A Llanelli household is hospitalised following reports of an “unknown substance”

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REPORTS of an “unknown substance” at a Llanelli property led to a multi-agency operation.

Police, ambulance and the fire service descended on a property in a village, just outside of Five Roads, Llanelli,  following reports of members of the household feeling unwell and the presence of an “unknown substance”.

Three members of the household in Five Roads, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Emergency services were alerted to members of the household feeling unwell and the presence of an ‘unknown substance’ on Sunday, April 11 at 7.30am.

The ambulance service were first on the scene with one rapid response vehicle, four emergency ambulances and the Hazardous Area Response Team and were supported by police and the fire service.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Ambulance Service said: “We were called to a residential property in the village of Five Roads, Llanelli at 7.30am on Sunday, April 11 to reports of three people needing medical attention.

“We responded with one rapid response vehicle, four emergency ambulances and our Hazardous Area Response Team.

“Three patients were taken to Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, for further treatment.”

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) assisted the police and ambulance service, deploying a specialist officer and an Environmental Protection Unit to the property.

The service ventilated the property and remained on the scene until 5.29pm.

A MAWWFRS spokesperson said: “At 7:44am, crews from Llanelli were called to assist the ambulance service and police at an incident in a property in Five Roads, Llanelli.

“An unknown substance was found at the property and its occupants reported feeling unwell.

“The occupants were taken to hospital by the ambulance service.”

“The incident was contained to one property and there were no concerns for the wider community of Five Roads.”

A Dyfed-Powys Police Spokesperson confirmed the force assisted in the multi-operation incident.

A spokesperson said:: “Members of one household in the village were feeling unwell, and were taken to hospital for assessment.

“They were found to have no medical concerns.

“Following examination of the scene by a number of agencies, there was no cause for further investigation into the incident.”

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