A TRACING service is being set up in Gwent to find people who have had contact with coronavirus cases, so they can be advised on symptoms and tests, and instructed to self-isolate.

Up to 330 people are expected to be employed in the Gwent Contact Tracing Service at times of peak surveillance.

The measure is seen as an essential local level aspect of the ongoing response to the disease as lockdown restrictions are eased.

The service will be piloted in Torfaen and Caerphilly - the latter as a fully remote working contact tracing service - before a Gwent-wide service is rolled out.

That all-Gwent service will work to an initial three-month model, but a long term operational plan potentially covering up to a year, is also being drawn up, in recognition of the unpalatable fact that coronavirus will remain a threat for a good while yet.

Firm timescales for the different phases of introducing the service have not been published, but it will have to be rolled out over the coming weeks, to be able to respond quickly as restrictions are eased, more people are allowed back to work, and - eventually - facilities such as schools reopen.


Contact tracing teams are being recruited across Wales and the rest of the UK. Like other areas, the Gwent service will be multi-agency, involving Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, the five councils, and the local public health team.

Staff numbers will range from 270-330, depending on what a health board report calls the "fluctuations in population surveillance required".

The health board will provide clinical and contact tracing lead staff, with contact tracers, contact advisors, co-ordinators and administrators being recruited predominantly from existing health board and council employees.

Volunteers and 'retained' NHS and council staff - such as those who have retired and volunteered to come back to help out, and health and social care students - will also likely play a part, and there may be a need to recruit staff externally in the longer term.

Contact tracing involves systematically asking people who have coronavirus symptoms, or have tested positive, about their contacts during a defined period where they could have passed the disease on.

These contacts will then be traced and given advice on what to do if they are or become symptomatic, including getting tested. They will also be instructed to self-isolate for the appropriate time.

A daily telephone call will be arranged to ask about any symptoms they may be developing, and if contacts are becoming symptomatic during isolation, a test will be arranged.

Should that return positive, they would then be treated as a new case and tracing of their contacts would begin in turn.