PLAID CYMRU AM Delyth Jewell has called for Covid-19 testing and tracing to be introduced in all care homes in Wales.
The Assembly Member for South East Wales made the demand after the Welsh Government Minister Jeremy Miles defended testing policy on BBC’s Sunday Politics Wales this morning.
Earlier this week, the Labour Government reversed their decision not to proactively test for the virus in care homes but will only test in care homes of 50 residents or more where there are not symptomatic residents.
This policy U-turns follows concerted pressure from Plaid Cymru, but Delyth Jewell AM says it is “not enough.”
“The Labour Government have taken a step in the right direction, but the logic behind introducing a cut off point of 50 residents to qualify for testing in homes where residents aren’t showing symptoms is not clear,” she said.
“The lack of clarity around this policy is unsettling for residents, the families of residents and the staff in smaller care homes. Anyone who works or lives in a care home with 49 residents or less will be more at risk of Covid-19 under this policy.
“Rural areas tend to have smaller care homes because of population density so this policy is effectively introducing a postcode lottery into the testing regime and that is unfair.
“This policy does not go far enough. If testing capacity is an issue, the Government should be upfront and declare it.
“If there is evidence to support this decision – as Labour Ministers continually claim – it must be published so it can scrutinised.
“That process could take some time so Plaid Cymru is calling for universal testing in care homes in the meantime so we can take a precautionary approach to testing, tracing and reducing the harm that this virus poses; not just to vulnerable residents and staff but to the wider community as well.
“The Labour Government has already been proven wrong on testing in care homes once and been forced to make a U-turn.
“While it might be embarrassing for the Labour Government to change their policy on care home testing once again, the priority must be people’s lives and the containment of coronavirus.”