PLAID CYMRU MS Leanne Wood has criticised the Welsh Government for the delay in establishing a test and trace strategy.
Vaughan Gething, Health Minister, confirmed that test and trace strategies were still in the planning phase after Ms Wood asked him when the first recruits to track and trace contacts of those testing positive for coronavirus would start work.
The Welsh Government has long been referring to a test and trace strategy, in which contact tracing will be used to understand where the virus and lower transmission rates.
This strategy is seen as a crucial element of lifting lockdown measures whilst managing the risks more effectively.
Mr Gething also wrote that options for the online booking of tests – a crucial element for contact tracing – were still being assessed.
Plaid Cymru Rhondda MS Leanne Wood said,
“The lockdown cannot safely be lifted without a comprehensive system of testing and tracing. To do this properly, all government resources at all levels needs to be directed into developing such a system. People should have been recruited weeks ago to undertake the tracing. For context, on a local basis, we will need around 300 people working on testing and tracing for it to work.
“To hear from Health Minister Vaughan Gething that we are still at the planning stage on this is more than disappointing. We’re facing two scenarios where the lockdown will be lifted before the testing and tracing system is fully operational – which would be unsafe, or we are set to remain in lockdown for a long time yet. Neither of these options are palatable to me.
“I will continue to press our government on this. If they don’t have the capacity to test – they need to say and we all need to do what we can to help build that capacity.