New testing plan in Wales in preparation for 'possible second wave' of coronavirus in autumn

Daily press conference photo
Vaughan Gething announces changes to Wales' Covid-19 testing strategy Credit: Welsh Government

The Health Minister Vaughan Gething has published a new coronavirus testing strategy. 

He said it builds on the latest scientific evidence and focuses on four priority areas: 

  • Contact tracing - to prevent the spread of the disease among the wider population. 

  • Delivering NHS services - to support the safety of staff and patients.

  • Protecting vulnerable groups - to safeguard groups at greater risk of Covid-19.

  • Developing future delivery - to use surveillance and new technologies to improve our understanding of the virus. 

There are currently two different forms of testing in Wales; the antigen virus detection test which shows if someone currently has the virus, and the antibody test which is used to determined whether a person has been previously infected.

Mr Gething said the Welsh Government will continue to test care home staff on a weekly basis for a further four weeks. He said if the number of those with the virus remains low during this period, the government will move to a fortnightly regime for antigen testing. Alongside this, it plans to introduce a programme of antibody testing for social care and domiciliary staff.

The Health Minister said "bespoke testing regimes" can be implemented where care homes are identified as higher risk because of local outbreaks, for example.