People in communities in Bridgend, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf will be given coronavirus tests whether they have symptoms or not, health minister Vaughan Gething has announced.
Mr Gething said there would be “targeted community testing” in several parts of the councils – all of which fall within the Cwm Taf health board area – with the aim of reducing community spread.
At the Welsh Government’s press briefing on Wednesday, February 24, Mr Gething also announced there would be a massive expansion in workplace testing across Wales. Some 250,000 workers in high risk public and private businesses will be offered weekly tests.
RCT council leader Andrew Morgan tweeted that the areas being targeted first in his council for community testing were Tonypandy, Porth, Llanharry, Gilfach/Evanstown and Rhondda Fach.
The local authorities will issue details of who should attend for community testing soon.
Announcing the community testing, Mr Gething said: “From next week, targeted community testing will begin in parts of Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
“By expanding testing to detect more cases more quickly, particularly those that are asymptomatic, we may well see an uptick in the figures for the prevalence of the virus in Wales.
“An increase in the reported number of positive test results is not, in itself, necessarily a bad thing – if the basis for that increase is understood and swift action taken to stop transmission.
“Our incredible vaccine programme is the other beacon of hope that will help guide us out of lockdown.”
You can now get all of the need-to-know news sent straight to your inbox by signing up for our free WalesOnline newsletter.
It takes just seconds to subscribe – simply click here, enter your email address and follow the instructions.
Referring to the workplace testing, he said: “We know around one in three people who have coronavirus show no symptoms and spread the virus unknowingly.
“By frequently testing people in the workplace we can identify asymptomatic people and their contacts faster and, crucially, help reduce the spread of this dreadful virus.
“Regular testing for our health and social care workforce has already started, and we are now extending this to testing staff working in childcare settings, schools and further education colleges.
“These plans will involve over 250,000 workers across Wales having access to weekly testing using tests which produce results in under half an hour.
“Our new workplace testing framework, published today, extends this rapid and regular testing to public and private organisations with more than 50 employees.
“The priority will be workplaces that have a higher exposure to risk, involve people working in close proximity to others, and those that deliver key services for the people of Wales.”