A Welsh woman is highlighting the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines are having on people with sight loss.
A survey by eye research charity Fight for Sight has found that two in five respondents with significant sight loss reported finding it difficult to follow social distancing rules as a result, while more than half said their access to food and other products has gotten worse during the pandemic, including access to food deliveries. This has been made more difficult by the fact that blind and partially sighted people are not classed as a vulnerable group, and therefore are not given priority delivery slots.
The survey also found that four in ten people with sight loss fear their sight will further deteriorate during the Covid-19 pandemic, as they struggle to access treatment for their eye conditions. While 73 percent of respondents said their access to treatment has gotten worse during the pandemic, with some reporting cancelled surgeries, as well as cancelled injections for age-related macular degeneration.
Angharad Paget-Jones, 27, from Port Talbot, South Wales is blind and is a guide dog user. She said: “I can’t go into stores anymore because my guide dog Tudor doesn’t understand social distancing. Queuing outside shops is also a problem because Tudor is trained to find the door, he’s not trained to find the end of the queue.”
Angharad has described how people have been unwilling to assist her during this time: “People in the shops won’t help me. In one shop, a woman yelled at me for being too close to her, even though she was walking the wrong way around the one-way system that was in place.”
Fight for Sight is calling on the government to update its advice to retailers on social distancing measures to ensure the needs of people with poor vision are not excluded or put at risk. Blind and partially sighted people should also be given priority delivery slots for online shopping if they want it. Additionally, the government is being urged to come up with an urgent plan to make sure that people do not lose their eyesight due to lack of appointments as a result of social distancing measures.
Fight for Sight is also raising awareness for the need for more investment in eye research, which could transform the lives of over two million people with sight loss through new treatments as well as taking pressure off an already stretched NHS.
Chief Executive of Fight for Sight, Sherine Krause said: “Our survey shows that people with sight loss are particularly affected by the pandemic, which is having a huge impact on their wellbeing. To address this, we’re calling on the Government to urgently update its advice to retailers on social distancing measures to ensure the needs of people with poor vision are not excluded. Our high streets must not become no-go areas for people with sight loss. In the longer term, we must continue to fund research for new, more efficient treatments and cures for the leading causes of blindness and sight loss, to help ease the pressure on our NHS.”
With so many breakthroughs on the horizon, science has the power to transform millions of lives, but unfortunately research is now at risk due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fight for Sight is launching an urgent appeal to help researchers cover the costs of delays to projects and returning to the lab and get eye research back on track. To help support the appeal, visit Fight for Sight’s website at https://www.fightforsight.org.uk/.
Police appeal following assault in Llys Glan Y Mor
POLICE in Llanelli are investigating an assault which occurred in the vicinity of St Davids Close and Llys Glan Y Mor, Llanelli sometime between 9.00pm on Saturday 10th April and 1.30am on Sunday 11th April 2021.
A 45-year-old male was taken to hospital with facial injuries.
Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.
They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.
Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police either online at: bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing email@example.com, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference DPP/0006/11/04/2021/01/C.
Police trace burglar who left trail of oil leading to his home
A MAN was charged with burglary after leaving a trail of oil from a stolen generator leading police from a victim’s home to his own.
Dyfed-Powys Police officers were able to quickly trace Dominic William Oliver after he went on an overnight burglary spree in Burry Port in March.
The force received reports of two garage burglaries and a theft from a car overnight on Monday, March 8, with a generator, fishing rods, and two bags containing passports among the stolen items.
The combined value of the items taken was estimated to be around £800.
Sergeant Gemma Davies said: “An officer attended the victims’ homes, and was made aware of a trail of oil, which was believed to have come from the stolen generator.
“She followed it along several streets – one of which was where Oliver had stolen two bags from a car – and discovered that it ended outside a property on Dandorlan Road.
“Oliver agreed to a voluntary search being carried out, and as officers entered the property they immediately noticed a rucksack with a distinctive pattern that had been described by one of the victims.”
The search was completed, with further items suspected to have been stolen recovered from the address, and the 31-year-old was arrested on suspicion of burglary within six hours of the incidents being reported.
While being conveyed to police custody, Oliver made a significant comment linking him to the theft of the generator.
He was charged with two counts of burglary and one theft, and appeared at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing on Friday, April 30.
He was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months, must complete a rehabilitation requirement, and must remain at his home address between 8pm and 6am for three months.
Sgt Davies said: “This was an excellent response, which resulted in the swift arrest and charge of Oliver, and the recovery and return of stolen property to the victims the same day the offences were reported to us.
“This has no doubt had a positive impact on the residents of Burry Port, who have commented positively on how the matter was investigated.
“Community engagement, patrols and a crime prevention leaflet drop was carried out following the investigation to offer reassurance and advice.”
Further coronavirus restriction relaxations brought forward
FURTHER changes to the coronavirus restrictions have been announced by the First Minister Mark Drakeford today.
The Welsh Government has confirmed further relaxations will be brought forward from 17 May to 3 May – including the resumption of indoor supervised activities for children, indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults, such as exercise classes, and the re-opening of community centres.
This means Wales will have completed the move to Alert Level 3 by Monday 3 May.
From Saturday 24 April, the rule of 6 will allow for up to six people from six households to meet outdoors, not including children under 11 years of age or carers from those households.
The Welsh Government has also confirmed the relaxations that will take place on Monday 26 April. Outdoor attractions, including outdoor swimming pools, funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen, while outdoor hospitality can also resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people will be able to take place and weddings receptions can begin again outdoors for up to 30 people.
Wales has the lowest coronavirus rates of the UK nations. The successful vaccine programme continues with a higher proportion of people vaccinated in Wales than other nations of the UK for both first and second doses.
Changes from Monday 3 May:
- Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities being able to reopen;
- People will also again be able to form extended households with one other household.
Relaxations planned for 17 May will be brought forward to the 3 May, including:
- The resumption of indoor supervised activities for children;
- Indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults (such as exercise classes and swimming lessons);
- And the re-opening of community centres.
The First Minister said:
“The sacrifices we have made continue to show results. By us all working together and sticking to the rules, combined with our vaccination programme, mean we continue to make progress. Rates of the virus continue to fall and the public health situation is improving.
“Due to these efforts we are able confirm more easing of the restrictions from 26 April and for early May we are again able to bring forward some of our plans. However, this progress is dependent on all of us continuing to work together to keep Wales safe.
“At the last three-week review, I set out a forward-look of how the restrictions could continue to be lifted in the weeks ahead, if the public health situation remains stable.
“It will be for the incoming Welsh Government to confirm these arrangements at the next three-week review, which will be held on May 13 – a week after the election. It is my assessment that the hospitality sector – bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes – will be able to open indoors from May 17, together with all other tourist accommodation, indoor entertainment and attractions.”
Further possible easements are subject to the public health situation remaining favourable.