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First Minister confirms ‘Roche was behind collapsed COVID-19 testing deal’

WALES’s First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed in today’s ‘virtual’ Senedd plenary to Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price that Roche was the company behind the collapsed testing deal.

The Welsh Government had previously refused to name the company with which they had a written agreement for 5,000 extra Covid-19 tests per day but who had seemingly cancelled the order at the last minute.

Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price welcomed the admission and stressed the importance of “transparency” in democracy – particularly “during a time of crisis.”.

However, Mr Price said it remained in the public interest that the Welsh Government and Roche explain why the deal had collapsed.

The Plaid Cymru Leader pointed out that due to the deal’s collapsed, Wales had missed out on a crucial 5,000 additional tests per day.

He also dismissed a “co-ordinated approach” with tests procured and distributed centrally via the Westminster Government and said that any tests distributed on a population share would not be in Wales’ interests.

Wales currently makes up 4.7% of the UK’s population but has 8% of its Coronavirus cases.

The Plaid Cymru Leader argued for tests to be distributed according to need and not population.

Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said,

“Transparency is crucial in any democracy – particularly during a time of crisis. We therefore welcome the First Minister’s admission today that it was indeed the company Roche who were behind the collapsed deal to supply five thousand additional Covid-19 tests per day to Wales.

“However, we still don’t know why the deal collapsed in the first place. It is in the public interest that the Welsh Government and Roche tell us what exactly happened to make the agreement fail.

“We were told that starting today we’d be conducting six thousand tests per day. But because the deal fell through, only 1,100 tests will now be done a day – a loss of 5,000 tests. That’s a scandal.

“The First Minister says that on testing that a “co-ordinated approach” is sensible. But Wales will only be getting a population share of those UK tests – which is 4.7%, despite having 8% of all UK Coronavirus cases. Tests and resources should be distributed according to need not population. It is not in Wales’ interests to have the Westminster government procure and distribute these tests on our behalf.

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