Free Covid tests to continue in Wales as cases rise

·2-min read
It is the first time total infections have risen week-on-week since the end of March (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)
It is the first time total infections have risen week-on-week since the end of March (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

Lateral flow tests will remain free in Wales until July, as health authorities estimate one in 45 people have Covid.

Tests will be available to anyone showing symptoms, as well as for people visiting someone eligible for new Covid treatments, the Welsh Government said on Friday.

It is extending access to free lateral flow tests until July 31.

The emergence of two new variants are contributing to the spike in cases as they become more dominant across the UK, the Government said.

The public are being urged to wear masks in health and care settings, self isolate and to get vaccinated.

“I would urge those eligible to have their spring booster if they have not already had it, the booster is available until June 30,” said Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan.

Meanwhile, self-isolation payments of £500 will be scrapped on June 30 but the Covid Statutory Sick Pay Enhancement scheme will be extended until the end of August to encourage social care staff to stay away from work if they test positive.

Mr Morgan said it’s “vital that we keep testing in place to protect the most vulnerable in our society”.

“As we have seen before, Covid can quickly change. I am announcing this extension in response to the changing picture and new variants of concern.

“Covid has not gone away, whilst we are learning to live safely with it, we will continue to monitor the situation and as we have done for the last two years, we will work together to keep Wales safe.”

In the week ending June 18, the most recent 7-day reporting period, there were 8,451 positive PCR and lateral flow tests recorded, NHS Wales data shows.

In England, 83,331 people tested positive in the week ending June 18 - a 29.1 percent increase from the previous seven days.

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