The reasons why Mumbles has by far the lowest coronavirus infection rate in Swansea at the moment have been analysed by community leaders and businesses in the area.
Yesterday, we reported how Public Health Wales Statistics revealed the Mumbles and Newton ward had recorded just 67.5 cases per 100,000 population for a seven-day rolling period ending on January 9.
It makes it the least affected area of the city by some margin, with the highest in the city by comparison recorded as Llangyfelach and Tircoed with 452 cases per 100,000.
Since the Welsh Government placed the country at alert level four, people have been told not to travel without reasonable excuse, and Mumbles, which is usually one of the city’s most popular destinations for a day out, has seen a considerable drop in numbers of the people visiting the area.
This is in part due to the efforts of South Wales Police, who have been performing stop checks along Mumbles Road, asking people for the reasons they are travelling in the area.
Chairman of Mumbles Community Council, councillor Dr Martin O’Neill, who spent his early career in the NHS, said he felt the statistics mirrored “health inequalities in society”.
“I think that is the most fundamental issue, and there are a lot of factors that are tied in with that,” he said.
“People in Mumbles might be more digitally literate meaning they can do more online shopping.
“Because the area is more affluent maybe the people living there can do their shopping from home and don’t have to go out as much as others would.
“The issue is very complicated and post-pandemic there needs to be some very serious research done on this.
“The police have been quite proactive, and they have been doing random roadside checks around the area of The Woodman checking why people are travelling to the area.
“They have also been going around the car park in Bracelet Bay. People still cycle down to the seafront, but there has been a decrease in visitors definitely, especially compared to an ordinary sunny weekend with no restrictions in place. The only thing that is open at the moment is takeaways.
“I would not like to wave a magic want and say ‘This is what it is that’s causing it’. But health inequalities may mean that some don’t have access to things like online shopping where as people in more affluent areas do.”
Mr O’Neill, who is originally from Merthyr Tydfil, drew comparisons to his hometown, which has been one of the hardest hit places in Wales during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I do know from my experience from what we have seen in Merthyr, when you get an outbreak in one family it can go all around the home, that’s all it takes,” he said.
Coronavirus statistics in your area…
Graham Hill, manager of Norton House Hotel, suggested it could be due to the older population in the area who may be self-isolating.
He said: “I think there are a lot more older people here, Mumbles is a more aged community. I think everybody is playing their part.
“The roads are still quite busy in general, but it’s not as much as it would be normally.”
And Andrew Clarke, who is manager of Coast House Bed and Breakfast, said: “It is probably because of the very high availability of outdoor space, I think that’s probably the biggest swinger.
“There is a lot more room in the area to social distance than you see elsewhere.”
Ward councillor for the area, Myles Langstone, said he believed the statistics were low simply because people were abiding by Welsh Government guidance in the area.
He said: “I think a lot of people are playing by the rules – from what I have seen with my neighbours a lot of people are making sure they are sticking by the rules.
“For me, in particular, I didn’t spend time with my family over Christmas. These sacrifices we make are incredibly difficult but we need to make sure we keep the numbers down. We want to make sure it’s down not just in Mumbles, but across Swansea and Wales and across the UK.”
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk