University students in Wales offered rapid Covid testing before Christmas travel

Students at Welsh universities will be asked to undergo rapid coronavirus testing before returning home for Christmas, the Welsh Government has said.

Universities will also end the majority of “in person” lessons in the week ending December 8, allowing time for students who test positive to isolate for 14 days before reuniting with their families.

Students will also be asked to minimise their social contact with others in the run up to the end of term and told to sign up for the new Lateral Flow Test pilot from their university if they plan on travelling home.

PA infographic showing daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK
(PA Graphics)

The self-administered test delivers results in 30 minutes and uses a nose and throat swab.

The test should be taken within 24 hours of a student’s intended travel date, with testing facilities set to become available at participating universities within the next few weeks.

Travel should be planned for no later than December 9, the Welsh Government said, allowing time to rearrange plans in case students need to self-isolate.

Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams said each of the UK’s four governments had worked together on university Christmas travel but would announce their own plans separately.

Ms Williams said: “We have been working with the other nations to ensure that all students, no matter where they live or study, are treated fairly and can travel home as safely as possible.

“We are also working with our universities to roll out the asymptomatic mass testing pilot before the end of term.

“I would encourage students to sign up for the testing pilot to make returning home at the end of term easier.

“I have been determined that students here in Wales are able to spend the holidays where they most want to, in a safe way, and these arrangements will allow that to happen.”

The Welsh Government will also communicate directly with Welsh students at universities elsewhere in the UK.

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