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Covid-19 Testing

Volume 680: debated on Wednesday 16 September 2020

My hon. Friend will be aware that testing for covid in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Government and we respect their devolved responsibilities. I understand that the Welsh Government have decided to seek support from the UK Government for testing in Wales, which is a responsibility of the Welsh Government, so the Department of Health and Social Care has been working directly with them to offer the help that they need to deliver an efficient testing and analysis programme.

We have made huge progress in rapidly scaling up our testing capacity, and I have witnessed that myself in my constituency of Keighley, but there is always more that we can do. What steps is my hon. Friend taking to explore with the Welsh Government the benefits of repeat population testing, and, if that proves effective, how can it be scaled up across Wales and the rest of the UK?

As my hon. Friend will be aware, we have made enormous strides in increasing the amount of daily testing that is available, but it is not yet enough in either Wales or England, or elsewhere in the United Kingdom, to meet the huge rise in demand that we have seen over the past few weeks. The UK Government have set a target of a 500,000-a-day testing capacity for the end of October, and we are also increasing the number of testing sites to 500 by the end of October. Across Wales and the United Kingdom, Governments of all sorts of different political persuasions are working hard and working together to increase testing and to meet the demand.