Explainer

Covid: What are the rules on testing and isolation in Wales as cases rise?

An estimated 1 in 45 people in Wales currently have Covid. Credit: PA

With Covid cases on the rise once again, many people are wondering what to do if they become infected or are showing symptoms of the virus.

An estimated 1 in 45 people in Wales currently have Covid, according to the latest Office for National Statistics survey.

The emergence of the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants are also contributing to this increase as they become more dominant across the UK.

But self-isolation laws in Wales ended in March, and the Welsh Government scrapped the few remaining Covid restrictions at the end of May.

So what should you do if you suspect you have the virus?

  • Self isolate

Whilst no longer a legal requirement, the Welsh Government advises that anyone who has symptoms or tests positive for Covid should self-isolate.

A scheme offering a one-off £500 payment to certain eligible groups who need to self isolate will end on June 30.

The Welsh Government advises anyone who tests positive or has symptoms to self isolate. Credit: PA

The Covid-19 Statutory Sick Pay Enhancement scheme, which supports social care staff who need to stay away from work due to testing positive, has been extended until August 31.

For those unable to stay at home, the Welsh Government advises wearing a face mask if you do need to be indoors with others, reducing the number of people you see and the time spent with them, and staying at least two metres away from people you do not live with.

  • Get tested

In addition to isolating, the Welsh Government says anyone with Covid symptoms should do a Lateral Flow Test (LFT).

A scheme allowing people in Wales to obtain LFTs for free has been extended until the end of July.

A scheme allowing people in Wales to access free lateral flow tests has been extended until the end of July. Credit: PA

The scheme means free LFTs will be available to members of the public showing symptoms of coronavirus, alongside free access for people visiting someone eligible for new Covid-19 treatments.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said the extension was necessary "in response to the changing picture and new variants of concern."

The tests can be ordered via the UK Government website.



  • Should I still wear a face mask?

Face masks are no longer a legal requirement anywhere in Wales, but the Welsh Government "strongly recommends" wearing them in health and social care settings such as hospitals and care homes.

Last week, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board reintroduced face masks in all of its hospitals in response to the rise in cases.

Face masks are no longer a legal requirement, but are "strongly recommended" in health and social care settings. Credit: PA

A spokesperson for the health board said: "Due to the increasing prevalence of Covid-19 in the community, the increased number of Covid-19 ward outbreaks, and the numbers of staff absent with Covid-19 we are asking all hospital staff and visitors to wear masks in clinical areas with immediate effect."

  • What about travelling abroad?

Many countries still have some travel restrictions in place in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

UK travellers visiting Spain need to provide proof of vaccination, evidence of a recent Covid infection or a negative test.

Those visiting France need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.

Covid-19 restrictions for travellers vary depending on the country you are visiting. Credit: PA

Germany, Italy, Cyprus and Greece are among a number of European countries to have scrapped all Covid-19 restrictions for visitors.

You do not need to take any Covid tests when returning home to the UK. This applies whether you are fully vaccinated or not.

Full information on every country's Covid travel restrictions can be found on the UK Government's website.


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