Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has said the delivery of an effective and localised testing and tracing program will be “key” to easing lockdown restrictions.
The Welsh Government is expected to publish its plan to “test, trace and track” today (Wednesday).
Calling the imminent plan “overdue”, Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said that it should now be “delivered at pace” – with the “doubling” of testing capacity in the short term with “clear plans for rapid turnarounds in testing and tracing”.
Mr ap Iorwerth said speed would be “of the essence” in controlling and isolating outbreaks.
To date, the Welsh Government has failed to deliver its own target for testing, having initially promised 9,000 tests by mid-May.
Yesterday, just 1,193 tests were carried out of a capacity of 5,330 per day.
The Shadow Health Minister said the delivery of the plan should be about both “quality and quantity” and that the Welsh Government should use the technology used internationally to ensure the system is as effective as it could be.
However, Mr ap Iorwerth said the “real focus” should be on having the systems put in place on the ground “working with local authorities and others to build robust systems, using local expertise and intelligence” – and cited the one being developed in Ceredigion as an example.
Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,
“This is very much overdue, and we look forward to seeing not only what Welsh Government’s plans are, but how they are to be implemented at pace. Plaid Cymru have long called for a testing and tracing plan to be made a priority.
“We’ll be looking for several elements – not only a sharp increase in testing capacity, a doubling at the very least in the short term, but clear plans for rapid turnarounds in testing and tracing. Speed will be of the essence in isolating outbreaks of the disease.
“Welsh Government must also have a clear understanding of how to apply technology to the tracing process – they need to be on top of and in touch with key international developments such as those being led by Google and Apple, as well as seeing how the UK-wide app may prove useful.
“But their real focus has to be on the systems put in place on the ground here in Wales, working with local authorities and others to build robust systems, using local expertise and intelligence, such as the one being developed in Cerdigion for example.
“After failing to reach testing targets, the Welsh Government has put even more pressure on itself to get this right. We can’t even begin to significantly ease restrictions in Wales without having testing, tracing and isolating plans in place that we can trust.”