Plaid Cymru has repeated its calls to widen covid-19 testing in Wales as a means to identify outbreaks early and safeguard the public. Currently there is capacity for 12,374 tests a day in Wales, but July 1st figures show only 1,410 were conducted in Wales yesterday.
Plaid’s Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth says that routine asymptomatic testing could be extended to more health and care workers, as well as workers in other key or vulnerable areas such as food processing.
Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “Testing is such a core part of any successful battle against covid-19, surely we need a strategy to make the greatest use possible of the testing capacity we have. That capacity was too slow being built up, but now that we have it, it should be used.
“What I’d like to see is a clear strategy on using that capacity in the best possible way. It needs to have a clear objective, but with flexibility build in, so capacity can be shifted to respond to new outbreaks.
Questioned by Rhun in a recent meeting of the Senedd’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, Professor Deenan Pillay of the Independent Sage Committee said he agreed that use of testing capacity should be maximised, ‘according to a clear strategy”.
One GP in Mr ap Iorwerth’s Ynys Món constituency, who has called for more testing in primary care, said this was needed to protect the public.
Dr Sarah Borlace said: “I believe that regular testing should be offered to health care professionals in order to try and ensure that we are not putting our patients, colleagues and families at risk unnecessarily.”
“My colleagues and I have taken every possible precaution, but routine testing would provide extra reassurance to patients, and I believe regular testing of all healthcare workers should be a priority so we can ensure we are not exposing our patients, colleagues and families to unnecessary risk.”