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Covid: Free lateral movement exams in Wales till 31 July

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Lateral movement exams will stay free for folks in Wales with Covid signs till the top of July.

But the principle self-isolation cost ends on 30 June though an identical scheme for social care will proceed.

This comes as the newest knowledge confirmed one in each 45 folks in Wales had Covid.

England and Scotland have already ended entry to free LFTs to most individuals, with Northern Ireland resulting from finish free entry on the finish of June.

The continued availability of free LFTs to symptomatic folks “should make a difference” in keeping with Dr Sir Frank Atherton, the chief medical officer for Wales.

“Ministers here are quite clear that they prefer to remove protections and to make easements to the situation when we’re on the downward turn,” he stated.

“So when we’re on a rise of community infection, when rates are actually going up, people are coming to more serious harm, that’s the time to delay those changes.

“And that is actually why we now have determined in Wales to proceed with the testing for people who find themselves symptomatic with coronavirus signs for an additional month.”

Self-isolation payments of £500 will end on 30 June, while the Covid-19 statutory sick pay enhancement scheme will be extended until 31 August to support social care staff to stay away from work if they test positive.

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Health Minister Eluned Morgan said she decided to extend payments “for care employees particularly as a result of they’re in weak settings”.

“I believe that is going to be a part of our course of going ahead, to be sure that we’re defending essentially the most weak.”

The Welsh government said continuing with LFTs would cost approximately £1m and, if self-isolation payments were to continue, given the number of positive tests, it estimated continuing this until the end of July would cost £3m-£4m.

It added that the costs of continuing with the Covid-19 statutory sick pay enhancement scheme would be about £1.5m.

Lfts Chart

How many people are testing positive with lateral flow tests?

The latest figures from Public Health Wales showed the highest number of LFTs coming back positive since the end of April.

There were 9,406 positive tests in the most recent week, with the highest number continuing to be recorded by people aged 40 to 59.

So far, there have been more than 12.5 million LFT results reported in Wales since January last year.

How a lot Covid an infection continues to be on the market?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated in its weekly swab survey that infections were rising in Wales, as in other UK nations too, and were highest in Scotland.

It said the rise was likely to be caused by infection in the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

However in Wales, the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants are currently outnumbered by the Omicron BA.2 variant, according to those sequenced in the most recent week.

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What in regards to the future?

Dr Atherton said he anticipated further surges in the future, saying: “Whenever we now have these surges, we must always return to a few of these issues that we all know forestall transmission.

“So social distancing, face coverings in crowded places and making sure that if we have symptoms of any respiratory infection that we self-isolate.

“All of these issues will assist to interrupt the chains of transmission, and I believe as we go forwards, trying into the crystal ball barely, I believe we’re going to see additional surges of coronavirus and we should put these measures in place.”

“But I believe that they need to be put in place voluntarily by folks appearing sensibly, as a result of we all know what to do now, slightly than by way of laws or mandates.”

Despite the change in the law, Public Health Wales still advises that people should self isolate if they test positive or have symptoms.

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