William Eichler 23 November 2020

First mass testing programme rolled out in Wales

First mass testing programme rolled out in Wales image

Wales’s first COVID-19 mass testing programme is being rolled out in Merthyr Tydfil Borough.

The UK Government-supported mass testing programme will see the use of Lateral Flow Devices (LFD) which can provide results within around 20-30 minutes.

If an individual tests positive via an LFD test, they will then have a swab test and will be asked to return home so they can self-isolate immediately. All residents will be offered repeat testing, even if asymptomatic.

The roll-out is being carried out with the help of more than 160 UK military personnel who are supporting local officials set up the mass testing programme rapidly.

‘Mass testing is hugely important in our continued fight against the virus and the UK Government has been working night and day to deliver capacity right across the UK,’ said secretary of state for Wales Simon Hart.

‘At the same time, the UK Armed Forces has provided crucial support and additional expertise to our NHS and ambulance service in Wales throughout the pandemic.

‘Working alongside the local council, Welsh Government and the NHS, the significant support the UK Government is now giving to roll out Wales’ first mass-testing programme in Merthyr shows, once again, that we are better tackling the coronavirus united across the four nations of the UK and making the best use of our shared resources.’

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council leader Cllr Kevin O’Neill commented: ‘We’ve all been alarmed by the high number of cases in Merthyr Tydfil and action is needed to respond as a community to protect our residents.

‘Testing is important even if you don’t have symptoms. We learned this week that in Liverpool, where a COVID-19 testing trial has been carried out, 700 people were found to have unknowingly had the virus - these were cases that would not have been detected otherwise.

‘The council will be throwing its support behind this significant undertaking in the coming weeks and encouraging as many of our residents as possible to play their part in trying to bring this virus under some sort of control.’

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