Health boss claims Covid-19 tests were ‘intercepted’ for England in bombshell email
A health boss has claimed that Covid-19 tests meant for Wales were “intercepted”, and sent to England instead.
Tracey Cooper, CEO of Public Health Wales, (PHW), said there was a deal in place with Swiss firm Roche to provide 5,000 extra tests a day, but that it was scuppered because of pressure from the UK Government.
After she found out the tests were being sent to Public Health England, Cooper told colleagues that the “political context in England” is dictating events and describes a “rather chaotic situation” where agreements made are “not being honoured”.
She points the finger of blame directly at the UK Government, claiming it “clearly prioritised the use of a company’s testing for the purposes of England’s allocation”.
It has been suggested that the collapse of the deal led to Wales only getting around 10% of the 5000 tests it had originally been expecting.
However, Roche have denied there was ever an agreement in place.
It is understood that while no contract has been drawn up, Public Health Wales believed it had a strong verbal agreement in place with the company.
It is believed that this changed after Roche was called in to a meeting with the UK Government.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price says the episode is a “national scandal that shows the extent to which Westminster treats Wales with contempt”.
The emails were revealed after a Freedom of Information Request by Channel 4 News journalist Andy Davies.
The original FOI request made last year was denied by the Welsh Government because it “would, or would be likely to prejudice relations between two or more United Kingdom administrations”.
In her email to colleagues about the tests Tracey Cooper, said: “We understand that Porton Down [Public Health England] intercepted the order…”
“It is clear that they [Roche] have no plan to come to Wales….and that they are being instructed by DHSC (the UK Government’s Department of Health and Social Care) and following those instructions”.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said: “This new evidence proves that Wales’ efforts against Covid were deliberately undermined by the UK Government during the crucial first months of the pandemic.
“This is nothing short of a national scandal that shows the extent to which Westminster treats Wales with contempt.
“We urgently need answers as to why the Labour Welsh Government chose to stay silent instead of speaking out against the harmful actions of the Tory UK Government. These are not the actions of a government that stands up for Wales.
“People in Wales deserve a party that will always put the wellbeing of the people of Wales ahead of political convenience within an unequal union. A vote for Plaid Cymru on May 6 will be a vote for Wales.”