THE first whole-area coronavirus testing pilot in Wales will begin in Merthyr Tydfil from Saturday.

Anyone living or working in Merthyr Tydfil will be offered testing for coronavirus – with the possibility that the system could be rolled out to other parts of Wales.

It will be available to those who have no symptoms as well as those who are symptomatic.

The pilot, like the one in Liverpool, aims to protect the residents of the area and those at the highest risk, test the maximum number of inhabitants living in the area to help the community to know where the virus is active and to be able to reduce the spread. It will also provide an understanding of how many people are asymptomatic and the prevalence of the virus in the community.


The first site for the asymptomatic testing will open on Saturday, November 21 at Merthyr Tydfil’s Rhydycar leisure centre and more are set to open in the coming weeks.

The pilot is a joint effort between the Welsh Government, UK Government, Merthyr County Borough Council, Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board and the Ministry of Defence.

Testing will be done via the lateral flow devices which will allow for a result to be given within 30 minutes. If a positive test is found, then a traditional swab test will be carried out to confirm the result and the individual will be asked to return home and self-isolate immediately in line with guidelines.

NHS Wales CEO Dr Andrew Goodall welcomed the news and said that the pilot will be managed and reviewed with the potential to roll it out to other areas of high rates of coronavirus across Wales.

Merthyr Tydfil was chosen as it had one of the highest rolling case rates in the UK.