Criticism over ‘lack of urgency’ in coronavirus testing in Wales
Opposition parties have criticised the Welsh Government today over a “lack of urgency” in coronavirus testing, after a testing station in Cardiff was closed for the bank holiday.
The testing Station in Cardiff was closed today “due to the low number of key workers anticipated to be working on Bank Hol Monday,” Public Heath Wales said.
Figures also showed that only 770 coronavirus tests were done on Saturday despite the Welsh Government claining that Wales’ NHS now has the capacity to carry out almost twice that.
At the end of March the Welsh Government said that “by mid-April, up to 5,000 antigen tests a day will be provided to people admitted to hospitals with suspected coronavirus, frontline NHS staff and people who are classed as extremely vulnerable”.
The Wesh Government today confirmed that they had the capacity to test 1,300 a day in Wales. However the most recent Public Health Wales data showed that only 770 tests were carried out on Saturday and 586 on Friday.
Both Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Conservatives criticised the lack of urgency in testing suspected cases.
“We were told there would be 5,000 tests a day in Wales by mid-April,” Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said.
“But latest figures show less than 800 tests a day and today the Covid-19 Testing Station in Cardiff was closed due to the bank holiday. Where is the sense of urgency?”
Conservative Shadow Health Minister Angela Burns AM also expressed her concern as the Cardiff City Stadium key worker test centre did not open on Easter Bank Holiday Monday.
“Coronavirus doesn’t respect bank holidays, so there is no valid reason to have kept the centre shut today,” Angela Burns said.
“While I appreciate that resources – especially staff – are stretched now, keeping the doors of a test centre shut on the assumption that few key workers would turn up to be tested is, I think, based on a false premise. In fact, it’s really rather incredible that PHW would have taken this approach.
“And let’s not forget that the tests not carried out today will just add to the burden of tests needing to be taken and then analysed.
“It was only last Friday that a nurse, speaking to the Welsh Conservatives, reported how she had had to wait nearly a week for a test.
“Limiting the amount of days that testing can take place could likely keep either perfectly healthy key workers away from their vital frontline duties, or prevent those with Coronavirus finding out that they are infected and taking the correct steps to get themselves well – and keep others safe.”
The Welsh Government however responded to say that opposition parties had shown “a complete lack of understanding of how the system works”.
“Key workers can’t just turn up to this centre, they have to be booked in,” the spokesperson told Channel 4 news. “Because of the small number booked in for today, they were all tested yesterday instead.”