The Welsh Government, like the other governments of the UK, is holding daily press briefings to try to answer the questions we journalists put to them.

We're all finding our way and that means there are too many questions for the time allotted and the questions keep coming and keep changing.

I've been putting questions that we haven't had chance to ask to the Welsh Government in written form. Below are my questions followed by the response from a Welsh Government spokesperson.

Q: Wales has the highest ratio of cases outside London. Is that a surprise or in keeping with your modelling? Prof Neil Fergusson of Imperial College University says that the NHS may just cope because of the moves being taken. Could the Welsh NHS be overwhelmed or will it cope?

A: “These are unprecedented, challenging times for those working in our NHS. We are using this time to prepare, train our staff and build up our critical care facilities so that our staff can focus on patient care. Our staff are stepping up magnificently to this challenge.”

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Q: Despite the steps you've taken on PPE, frontline healthcare workers are still reporting that they don't have adequate PPE. Why is that still happening?

A: “PPE is for the use of frontline health and social care staff when dealing with confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19. Around 3.5 million items of PPE has been released to the NHS & social care providers from our pandemic stockpile to reinforce the regular NHS supply routes that have come under substantial pressure.


Q: Healthcare workers are reporting a lack of routine testing and tracing of staff and patients. What moves are being made to change that? The AM Neil McEvoy says that the Welsh NHS was offered 10,000 tests by Mirage distribution last Friday but they were turned down - can you confirm? If so,, can you explain why?

A: Public Health Wales are working with us to identify test suppliers that meet the technical requirements, including test accuracy and safety.We are currently focussing our testing capacity on hospital in-patients and those frontline health staff who are isolating at home, so we can get them back to work quickly. As our capacity ramps up we would expect to extend testing to social care and other aspects of public service delivery, as well as into the community.”

The Minster for Health and Social Services issued a written statement on prioritising testing and plans to ramp up testing on 21 March.

Antibody tests

Q: The UK Government has suggested that antibody testing kits will be widely available soon. When will they be available in Wales?

A: “We are looking at antibody testing, working collaboratively with all of the UK nations. It will make a significant difference if we can put that in place but it would be subject to supply issues and the science being developed. We’re actively involved in discussions at the moment but cannot give a date at this time.”

Temporary hospitals

Q: As well as the Excel Centre, it's reported the UK Government has identified other conference centres to turn into temporary hospitals. The First Minister suggested that may not be appropriate for Wales. Is that still the case? Why not look at somewhere like the Celtic Manor/ICC which is part-owned by Welsh Government? Have there been any discussions?

A: "We’ve had a staggering amount of offers of support from organisations and businesses in the fight against Covid-19. We’re working closely with NHS Wales and other partners to consider every available option to better manage people in the community and to increase bed capacity based on forecasted demand.

“We are in the process of replying to these offers individually but we’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their generosity.”