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Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
22 September 2020
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

Last week I issued a statement to outline how Welsh Government is working with the NHS and Public Health Wales and other key stakeholders to make sure that testing is available where most needed in particular in dealing with clinical need, responding to outbreaks and incidents, protecting our most vulnerable in care homes and ensuring our critical public services can be maintained.

We know that capacity issues within the UK Government Lighthouse lab network are not going to be resolved for a number of weeks and we continue to take measures to minimise the impact on testing in Wales.

Building on the work that has already taken place to supplement capacity from Lighthouse labs with those operated by PHW.  We are now able to process an additional 28,000 tests per week, with further capacity available to manage outbreaks across Wales.

We continue to deploy Mobile Testing Units operated by WAST to support incidents and outbreaks.  Alongside the five MTUs already deployed in Caerphilly and RCT, an additional MTU supported by NHS Wales and local authority colleagues, with capacity for 300 tests per day, will be providing additional testing capacity in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg region.

The issues affecting the Lighthouse Labs are in part the result of a significant increase in demand.  We are processing significantly more tests every day than at any other time during this crisis with nearly 10,000 tests a day being processed for Welsh citizens and this looks likely to continue.

To help support us, it is important that individuals only book a test if they have the following symptoms: -

  • a high temperature;
  • new continuous cough, and
  • a loss of taste or smell

You should self-isolate if you have any of these symptoms, or if you are asked to by a contact tracer.

By following this advice, we will be able ensure that the resources that we have available are being used as effectively as possible.