Contact tracing system rolled out across Wales as restrictions eased
A contact tracing system is being rolled out across Wales as lockdown measures are eased from Monday, the Welsh Government has announced.
Anyone who has a positive coronavirus test result will be contacted by a team of tracers and asked for details of everyone they had close contact with while they had symptoms.
This is defined as anyone they have been within one metre of and had a face-to-face conversation, skin-to-skin contact or have coughed on, or been in other forms of contact with for a minute or longer.
It also includes people they have been within two metres of for more than 15 minutes, or those they have travelled in a vehicle with, or sat near on public transport.
All such contacts will be followed up and asked to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution.
From June 8, contact tracing will be supported by an online system that gives people the option of providing details of close contacts electronically.
Health minister Vaughan Gething described the roll-out of the contact tracing of the Test, Trace, Protect strategy as “a significant step forward in the gradual move out of lockdown”.
“Over the last few months, thanks to the help of the public and the way they have followed the stay-at-home rules, we have managed to slow the spread of the virus to the point where we can today ease the regulations to enable family and friends to meet again,” Mr Gething said.
“Contact tracing is a tried and tested method of bringing outbreaks of infectious diseases under control, and we hope it will do the same with coronavirus.
“But for it to be successful, we need everyone’s help and co-operation in sharing details about their movements and contacts.
“We also need people to self-isolate if they may be at risk.
“The scientific advice is clear – we need a contact tracing system in place before we begin to lift restrictions further.”
Contact tracing is being delivered by health boards and local authorities across Wales.
The system has been trialled in four health boards over the past two weeks, with more than 600 contact tracers employed so far.
Home tests and tests at drive-through centres for both critical workers and the public can now be booked online.
From Monday, people from two households will be able to meet outdoors as long as they do not travel more than five miles and observe social distancing.
Those who have been shielding will be able to exercise outdoors for the first time since lockdown.
They will also be able to meet people from another household, but must not go into another house or share food.
On Sunday, Public Health Wales said a further 11 people had died after testing positive for Covid-19, taking the total number of deaths in the country to 1,342.
A further 82 people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Wales to 13,995.