Call for regular testing of children and teachers as Wales’ schools reopen

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Plaid Cymru have called on the Welsh Government to introduce regular testing of children and teachers in Wales’ schools as they reopen this week.

Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth said it “just makes sense” for testing capacity to be used to help ensure schools were Covid-19 free.

He said that if it was important enough to regularly test Primier League footballers, “it should be important enough for our teachers, students and everyone who works in our schools.”

Currently, swab tests are only available for members of the public in Wales with symptoms of coronavirus, with the exception of care home settings.

The Children’s Commissioner in England has also called for teachers and pupils in England to have weekly tests.

 

‘Risk’

“Testing has been available for everyone in Wales who displays symptoms of coronavirus for some time,” Rhun ap Iorwerth said.

“However, we know that children – and many adults – often display no or mild symptoms, so the only way to be sure of the full picture is if testing capacity is used as much as possible to bring possible cases and clusters to light.

“Schools are the new unknown. Given that it is so important for them to remain open and safe for everyone in them, it just makes sense to use the testing capacity in Wales to provide reassurance to teachers, parents and pupils alike that we have a complete picture of where coronavirus might be circulating.

“This is especially important as people return from holiday into school settings, amid reports that there is increased risk of transmission from holidays to certain locations.

“It’s important that the Welsh Government gives us a programme of ‘broad surveillance’ – they should start in areas where coronavirus is known to be circulating, they should test as widely as possible, and regular sampling should start now, as pupils return to schools.

“If regular testing is deemed important enough for our footballers, then it should be important enough for our teachers, students and everyone who works in our schools.”

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