GOVERNMENT WELSH to loan four million lateral flow tests to the NHS in England due to a shortage of supplies.
A record number of Covid infections, driven by the Omicron variant, has led to an increase in demand for rapid self-test kits.
People are also encouraged to use LFDs before attending gatherings or meeting vulnerable relatives.
The test kits have been unavailable on the UK government website on several occasions over the past few days and many pharmacies are struggling to guarantee stocks.
Demand for testing has been compounded by a change in quarantine rules that allows people in England to break out of self-isolation after seven days instead of 10, provided they take two negative lateral flow tests. In Wales, this change takes effect on Friday 31 December.
In a letter to MPs, UK Health Minister Sajid Javid said the supply of lateral flow tests (LFD) was tripled in January and February compared to a pre-Omicron plan of 100 million to 300 million per month.
“To meet the anticipated demand over the next few weeks, we are purchasing hundreds of millions of additional LFD tests, bringing in new products and accelerating their deployment to the public,” he said.
But “in light of the huge demand for LFD observed over the past three weeks, we anticipate having to constrain the system at certain times over the next two weeks to handle supply during each day, with new ones. supply slices released regularly. All day long.
Four million LFD will now be loaned to England, in addition to the 6 million that was loaned earlier in the pandemic.
In a statement, Prime Minister Mark Drakeford said: ‘Wales has a significant stockpile of lateral flow tests, sufficient to meet our needs over the coming weeks.
“The Minister of Health today agreed to loan four million of these additional tests to the UK NHS, bringing this mutual aid to 10 million lateral flow tests.”
“The distribution of lateral flow test kits via home delivery and pharmacies remains the responsibility of the UK government and we are working with them as this increases the capacity of the system.”
“Wales went to alert level two on Boxing Day. The public health situation remains very volatile and the Christmas period is always a time when data collection and analysis is difficult. “
PCR tests – which are used to confirm new cases of Covid – have also not been available in many parts of England over the past two days, resulting in large queues forming at the site Deeside Industrial Estate test report.