The leader of a council has called the decision by Wales’ Health Minister not to routinely test care home residents and staff “an outrage”.
Conwy county council leader Sam Rowlands made the comments after Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething told BBC Radio Wales he would not expand testing of Covid-19 in care homes.
UK health minister Matt Hancock announced on Tuesday that all staff and residents in care homes would be tested, whether symptomatic or not.
Until recently, testing of symptomatic residents in a single Welsh care home was limited to five people.
However, that has now been changed so anyone with symptoms in a single care setting can be tested.
Speaking on BBC radio on Wednesday, Mr Gething said the policy position was to only test care home residents and staff who are showing symptoms of Covid-19.
Cllr Rowlands said,
“It is an outrage that the Welsh Government are refusing to expand testing into care homes, unlike what’s happening across the border in England.
“The care sector in Conwy and throughout Wales is carrying out an incredible job at this time.
“The least we can do to show how much they and their residents are valued is to provide testing in line with England.
“We have all seen the risks and issues related to Covid-19 in our care homes.
“It is completely unacceptable that the Welsh Government have taken this stance and I urge them to review this urgently.”
There have been repeated calls for Welsh Government to be more transparent about Covid-19 transmission within care settings.
The only reliable Welsh figures on Covid-19 deaths in care homes come from the Office for National Statistics, which published a weekly rundown of deaths registered with coroners – yet that is out of date because of the way deaths are reported.
Public Health Wales, which is managing the information surrounding Covid-19 rates of infection, testing and related deaths, claims releasing data on care home fatalities from the disease could lead to individuals being identified.