WALES does not currently have the capacity to make mass testing available to multiple local authorities, the First Minister has confirmed.

The first whole-area coronavirus testing pilot in Wales will begin in Merthyr Tydfil on Saturday, meaning anyone living or working in the area will be offered a coronavirus test.

In the latest figures from Public Health Wales, the rolling seven-day figure for cases per 100,000 population in Methyr Tydfil has fallen to 245.3 - meaning it has been surpassed by both Blaenau Gwent (365) and Rhondda Cynon Taf (250.8), while areas including Caerphilly (238), Newport (200.4), Swansea (223.5) and Neath Port Talbot (239.3) are approaching that figure.


However, speaking at a press conference, Mark Drakeford confirmed there would be no mass testing in other areas of Wales until the Welsh Government had "learned what works" from Merthyr Tydfil.

When asked if the Welsh Government had the capacity to introduce mass testing in several local authority areas at once, Mr Drakeford said: "Not today we don't, but we will learn a great deal from the mass testing in Merthyr.

"We've been in close touch with Liverpool to learn from their experience, which is interesting, and highlights some of the challenges of a whole-town testing regime as well as some of the more positive things they've gleaned from it.

"Our aim is to put this in place in Merthyr on a learning basis. When we've learnt what works and what doesn't in a Welsh context then we will hope that we will be able to use that to see whether we will be able to do this again in some other parts of Wales where the need arises.

"But it is important to make sure we have that learning opportunity before we move ahead and do it elsewhere."