Harder for Wales to protect against new Covid variant ‘because they’re cutting our funding in England’ says minister
It will be hard for Wales to protect itself against a likely new Covid variant because “they are cutting the funding for us from England,” the Welsh Health Minister has said.
Speaking on Politics Wales, Eluned Morgan was asked whether they would, ideally, keep the free Covid testing regime in place beyond June.
The Welsh Government has already said that it will keep lateral flow tests free for three months longer than England, but Eluned Morgan suggested that protection would be in place for longer if UK Government funding allowed.
“One of the big concerns we have is that we do need to be ready to spring back in terms of protection measures, if we see another variant hitting us in future – and all scientists are suggesting that that is highly likely to happen,” she said.
“So we are reluctant to be in a situation where we can’t monitor what is coming into our societies. There are some monitoring levels that will remain we’ve got the ONS survey, we’ve got the water monitoring, and of course we will keep that testing regime in place for those people working in health care facilities.
But that did not include the free lateral flow tests, she said.
“That is precisely because frankly, they are cutting the funding for us from England,” she said.
“And it will be very difficult for us to maintain and to give those feet free lateral flow test beyond a certain point, simply because they’ve cut off the financial funding for us from the UK Government.”
The Health Minister was also asked why Wales more cautious approach had not led o a considerable difference in terms of the mortality rate from Covid, compared to England.
“Because it’s not just about age, the fact is that we do have a sicker population here and Wales as well due to our industrial heritage and, and other issues that affect people here,” Eluned Morgan said.
“And poverty levels. Of course, all of that has an influence on the health of our population generally. And so that’s would explain to an extent why those figures are no different.
“I think what would worry me is if we hadn’t been cautious, imagine what those figures would have been like under those circumstances. So those are the things that we need to consider. We always have to consider that we have an older and sicker population.”
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