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Vaccine and testing boost to help re-open Wales safely

Written by on 24th February 2021

Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has today announced expanded testing and faster vaccine delivery to help Wales-reopen safely.

He confirmed Wales will aim to offer the vaccine to all eligible adults by 31 July and will publish an update to the national vaccination strategy on Friday.

Workplace and community testing will also be expanded.

The scheme for workplaces to carry out testing and set up their own test sites is now being extended to public and private organisations with more than 50 employees.

Mr Gething said: “Our vaccine and testing programmes are key to safely re-opening up our society and economy.

Our vaccine programme continues at pace and on Friday I’m publishing a revised vaccine strategy with detail on how we will, subject to supply, offer every eligible adult in Wales the first dose of the vaccine by the end of July.

Workplaces with more than 50 employees will now be eligible for support to regularly test their workforce, helping reduce the spread of the virus and allow them to operate safely.

And from next week targeted community testing will begin in parts of Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf. This will help find those who show no symptoms of coronavirus.

We have already set out our revised plans for the careful and cautious re-opening of Wales’ society and economy. The measures announced today will play an important part in achieving that as safely and quickly as possible.”

The revised vaccine strategy will provide more details on current and forthcoming priorities, including – subject to vaccine supply – the bringing forward of target dates for key milestones

The support available to workplaces in Wales to introduce a testing scheme includes the provision of rapid lateral flow devices, training, access to an online testing portal and clinical standard operating procedures and guidelines.

The community testing programme will use Lateral Flow Devices. Everyone who attends will be given a test using the devices, which can turnaround results within 20 -30 minutes. Anyone who tests positive via a LFD test will be asked to return home so they can self-isolate immediately and arrangements will be made for a follow-up PCR test.

Although community testing will initially be available in three local authorities, further discussions are taking place with partners in North Wales and it could be rolled-out more widely based on local circumstance and need identified.