Plaid Cymru’s health spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has today expressed his concern over the recent increase in case numbers and hospital admissions due to covid, as learners are set to return to classrooms and lecture theatres across Wales.
The latest data from Public Health Wales has shown that positive test results are at their second highest since the pandemic started, and a corresponding rise in hospital admissions from COVID can now be seen across all health boards in Wales.
Mr ap Iorwerth will be writing to the Health Minister to ask how the government is planning to respond to this pattern.
Government has previously confirmed that vaccination significantly weakened the link between infection and hospitalisation, but “while a link exists” says Mr ap Iorwerth “rising cases will always lead to rising hospitalisations”.
With children and young people starting to return to schools and colleges this week, of “additional concern”, says Mr ap Iorwerth, is the fact that a recent study shows that 1 in 7 children who catch coronavirus still show symptoms of the virus months after the original infection. With children remaining largely unvaccinated, Mr ap Iorwerth says we “cannot afford to leave our children so unprotected.”
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for health said,
“Our learners are returning to schools, colleges and universities at a time when community transmission and hospital admissions are rising, and far higher than at the same point in 2020.
“In 2020, the return to school was a factor in community cases rising even higher, and we cannot ignore that this might happen again.
“Children and young people remain largely unvaccinated, so have little protection against catching the virus, and nothing to stop them passing it on to family and the wider community.
“Of additional concern is the harm that can be caused by long-COVID, and a recent study shows 1 in 7 children with COVID will still show symptoms after 15 weeks.
“Schools are crying out for clearer guidance on how to keep children and staff safe from harm: Some of whom are clinically vulnerable, and will be anxious to find out about government plans for a third vaccine dose.
“Welsh Government must always show how it’s responding to the ever-changing situation in order to try to allay fears, and this is why I’ll be writing to the Health Minister to express the concerns and to seek clarity on the approach she will adopt.”