A PILOT coronavirus testing scheme being trialled in some Welsh care homes will allow more families to visit their loves ones, it is hoped.

The Welsh Government has announced lateral flow tests are being offered in some care homes from next Monday, November 30.

The tests can provide results in around 20 minutes and, if the pilot is deemed a success, will be rolled out to more care homes from Monday, December 14.

Speaking in a press conference this afternoon, health minister Vaughan Gething said: “It’s about giving confidence to the providers and staff in care homes and the family members. Most haven’t visited although they want to because of the concern of causing harm.

“So the tests will help us understand whether it is possible and how we can roll it out if it is safe to do so.

“We need to make sure that this is as safe as possible and that’s why the pilot is good news.”

However, in a statement, the Welsh Government said devices used in the lateral flow tests are "not as sensitive" as others used in other testing programmes, and so "will not detect 100 per cent of positive cases".


“Therefore a negative test does not give us a ‘free pass’ and appropriate infection prevention and control procedures, such as hand hygiene and PPE, and appropriate social distancing must continue to be followed," the statement said.

It continued that any positive test would have to be reported to the Test, Trace, Protect service, and then confirmed with a second test - and care homes would be provided with kits to carry out these tests.

The statement also said: “We are aware that testing is only a partial solution to enable greater visiting. In particular, we are also aware that some providers have found it difficult to support socially distanced visits due to a lack of internal visiting space. This is particularly challenging during the winter months and is even more pressing as the festive season approaches.”