‘We need everyone’s help:’ Wales rolls out first coronavirus test and trace system
Health Minister Vaughan Gething has asked that everyone in Wales helps out as a population-wide contact tracing system is rolled out across Wales from today.
Anyone who has a positive coronavirus test result will be contacted by a team of contact tracers and asked for details of everyone they have had close contact with while they have had symptoms.
Close contact means anyone:
- They have been within 1m of and had a face-to-face-conversation, had skin-to-skin contact with or have coughed on, or been in other forms of contact with for a minute or longer
- They have been within 2m of for more than 15 minutes
- They have travelled in a vehicle with or sat near on public transport
- All these close contacts will be followed up and will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution to prevent the virus spreading further
From next Monday, 8 June, contact tracing will be supported by a new online system, which will give people the option to provide details of their close contacts electronically.
Mr Gething said that today’s roll-out of the contact tracing was a significant step forward in the gradual move out of lockdown.
“Over the last few months, thanks to the help of the public and the way they have followed the stay-at-home rules, we have managed to slow the spread of the virus to the point where we can today ease the regulations to enable family and friends to meet again,” he said.
“Contact tracing is a tried and tested method of bringing outbreaks of infectious diseases under control and we hope it will do the same with coronavirus – but for it to be successful, we need everyone’s help and cooperation in sharing details about their movements and contacts. We also need people to self-isolate if they may be at risk.
“The scientific advice is clear – we need a contact tracing system in place before we begin to lift restrictions further.”
The system has been trialled in four health board areas over the last two weeks and more than 600 contact tracers have so far been employed. This number is likely to rise as the system is rolled out.
The Welsh Government said that testing capacity has been increased to support contact tracing and home tests and tests at the drive-through centres for both critical workers and the public can be booked online.
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Let’s hope people in Wales respond positively and sign up. As the example of countries like new zealand, south korea and singapore shows an effective testing and tracing system is the key to bringing this awful virus under control until anti viral treatments for it are developed.
This is a critical phase of disease control and unlike in England local government is fully underpinning the initiative.
This has a real opportunity of delivering and maintaining a low disease Wales so long as people stick with our current low contact for a few more weeks while we try to squeeze infection rates further.
I can do half of my bit now and say that neither me nor her indoors have contacted anyone but where do we get tested?
Personally I would prefer to have no close contact with a tester who automatically has close personal contact almost constantly and how they would test her indoors, who is shielded and “severely vulnerable”, is anyone’s guess. I am eager to co-operate but how?
If you have kept well out of the way for several weeks but feel vulnerable the “best plan” is probably to stick with that as there is no evidence of you receiving or transmitting. I have kept my trips out to the bare minimum – fetching meds and dashes to shops when supermarket delivery services were stretched out to beyond 3 week lead time, but on those odd trips I could have had contact. No symptoms to date, but there again that means very little in terms of risk of spreading.
What would help us all, is details of where we can download the App/Programme, which, hopefully, will be available for all platforms of internet access. I have looked on Google Play but, as yet, there is no sign of one being available.
If, as seems necessary, this needs to be in operation now, surely time is of the essence.
It does say it’ll be starting next Monday but I absolutely agree that this should be in operation now !
We’ve just signed up to the COVID symptons study via the C19 app but I would much prefer to be participating to a Welsh-centric study, after all it would be what is most relevant to me and mine.
From what I have read/heard, in a number of places, I thought it was due to be active from today. By what this article says, it looks as if I am mistaken! I signed up to the C19 app a while back but haven’t contributed much for the last week or so, as it seemed a bit “unfinished”. I agree that this new tracker seems much more pertinent to us here in Wales, I just hope it has been thought through thoroughly before it is activated. In my, completely medically ignorant opinion, England is easing their lockdown conditions far too… Read more »