Hospital face mask decision premature

The report that GWH has 'relaxed' the mandatory mask requirement in its facilities coincided with the Office of National Statistics issuing data showing that there has been a sharp increase in COVID infections due to the Omicron BA 4 and BA5 sub-variants.

Infections are now running at 1 in 50 in England with hospitalisations increasing and deaths linked to COVID totalling 174 in the past week.

The pandemic may be running down but COVID is still with us and remains a threat to all.

So the GWH decision is definitely premature. It is all very well to say that mask-wearing is encouraged but few people will heed this message and only a mandatory requirement will be effective to prevent hospitals from again becoming a hotspot of infection.

Masks are an effective means of restricting the spread of the virus and removing the requirement to wear masks in most NHS settings including GP practices strikes me as being irresponsible.

Tony Mayer


Haydon Wick

Do your bit to keep rights of way open

It is with sadness that we have read a couple of letters recently regarding the state of rights of way.

Most footpaths and bridleways are in a rural setting and therefore the majority are not surfaced and are part of the countryside setting.

Here in the Vale of Pewsey, we have excellent walking with fantastic views, interesting things to see along the way and tranquility.

Wiltshire is blessed with over 4000 miles of rights of way but there is a team of just six people at Wiltshire Council to manage this.

With the best will in the world, they cannot do this alone.

So what can we all do to help maintain this wonderful network - after all, if we are using the rights of way, shouldn't we put something back and helping to maintain or improve them as well?

Set up a Footpaths Group. An excellent example of what can be done is the Bedwyn Footpaths Group where they work with the landowners and farmers to resolve not only maintenance issues but also to improve the routes and make them more accessible.

They also organise a number of walks throughout the year for anyone to join them.

The Pewsey Community Area Partnership is currently working with other parishes to set up similar groups across the Pewsey Community Area and information on how to set up a group is available for everyone on the Wiltshire Council website.

Log any problems you encounter on the Wiltshire Council website. If the Rights of Way team don't know about a problem, they can't do anything about it.

All issues will get prioritised and some will inevitably take a long time to resolve. The Rights of Way team will know if there is a Footpaths Group operating in the reported area and it may be something that the group can do relatively quickly.

There is no statutory requirement for rights of way to be signed, other than where they meet a road and this is then Wiltshire Council's responsibility.

If you feel waymarkers would make a route easier to follow, then log this on the Wiltshire Council website.

We would encourage people to get out there and enjoy the wonderful countryside that is on their doorstep, but to do this responsibly and try and see if you can help to maintain the routes you use in your area.

Dawn Wilson

Chair of Pewsey Community Area Partnership & Pewsey Vale Tourism Partnership

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