Posted: Wed 10th Mar 2021

Extra £60m funding to extend Covid contact tracing over summer

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 10th, 2021

An extra £50 million is to be provided to health board across Wales to extend coronavirus contact tracing over the summer.

The additional funding, on top of £10m previously agreed, will keep the current contact tracing workforce until the end of September 2021.

It will also support and enable continued improvements of the contact tracing digital system.

Contact tracing is being used in countries around the world to limit the spread of the virus in the community by breaking the link in transmission.

It starts with self-reporting of symptoms, followed by testing suspected cases, tracing the contacts of those potentially infected and then protecting families, friends and communities through self-isolation.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething has also announced a change that will see people who are close contacts of someone who has tested positive and have been asked to isolate by contact tracers offered a coronavirus test.

Close contacts will be asked to take a test as they start their self-isolation period and again on day eight.

Anyone who is identified as a contact will still need to isolate for the full 10 days even if the test comes back negative as it can take up to 10 days or more for symptoms to develop, or for the virus to appear in your system.

The Welsh Government say that as of the end of February, contact tracers in Wales have reached 167,226 (99.6 per cent) positive cases who were eligible for follow-up, together with 382,494 (95 per cent) of their close contacts and advised people whether or not they need to self-isolate.

Mr Gething said: “Although new case numbers have responded well to the current lockdown restrictions, there are significant uncertainties around the trajectory of the pandemic which means it is highly likely we will need to maintain a substantial contact tracing operation for the foreseeable future.

“Even with the roll-out of the vaccination programme, testing and tracing will remain a vital part of our approach as lockdown restrictions ease and to tackle any new variants as people arrive from overseas.”

The model for contact tracing will continue to be reviewed over the course of 2021.

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