Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services
The Welsh Government’s testing strategy sets out our key priorities.
One of those is ‘test to find’: identifying and isolating Covid-19 cases in the community to reduce the transmission of infection, support contact tracing and slow or stop the spread of the disease. Reduced prevalence of infection in the community reduces the number of severe infections, protects vulnerable individuals, protects the NHS, and reduces mortality.
To date we have encouraged everyone with symptoms of Covid-19 to get a test. As part of our continuing work under Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) to seek and stamp out transmission, I have today agreed to expand the offer of a test to close contacts of people who have tested positive for coronavirus. Close contacts will be asked by TTP to take a test as they start their self-isolation period and again on day 8.
Testing of asymptomatic contacts provides further opportunities to identify more index cases and their close contacts that would otherwise be unknown to TTP, helping to further break chains of transmission.
Taking a test is not an alternative to self-isolating. If you are identified as a contact you will still need to isolate for the full 10 days even if the test comes back negative. This is because it can take up to 10 days or more for symptoms to develop, or for the virus to appear in your system.