WALES' first programme of mass testing began in Merthyr Tydfil on Saturday, and could be brought to other areas of concern after this pilot scheme has been completed, said First Minister Mark Drakeford

Mr Drakeford said although there was not currently the capacity to run mass testing in multiple local authorities, the Welsh Government would look to implement it elsewhere after trialling it in Merthyr. He highlighted the number of cases in areas of Gwent, including Blaenau Gwent, Newport and Caerphilly as "a matter of concern."

"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," he said.


As part of the pilot scheme, everyone who lives or works in Merthyr Tydfil will be offered a coronavirus test, whether they are showing symptoms or not.

The first minister was asked why people who are not showing symptoms should get tested and risk having to miss two-weeks of work through having to self-isolate should they test positive.

"The real appeal to people in mass testing areas is to come forward because of that sense of collective responsibility," said Mr Drakeford. "We are not asking people to come forward because there is some immediate benefit to themselves, it is that if you are an asymptomatic person, and have coronavirus, then the risk is that without you knowing it at all, you may be giving it to people who matter a great deal to you and who's lives may be at risk as a result.

"The appeal for people to come forward is to make sure that you are playing your part in protecting other people.

"We will have, at the testing centres, people who will be able to give you advice immediately on the help that is available if you are asked to self-isolate, so we will be able to accelerate the help that people get thought he £500 payments and so on.

"We will be building into the system help for people who find themselves in that position, and hope that will encourage people who are anxious, for reasons I understand, to do the right thing, and the right thing is to come forward and take a test that is available to you, partly because it will tell you about your own state of health, but mostly because it will make sure that you will then be able to behave in ways that protect people that matter to you."

You can find out more about applying for the £500 support scheme at