Politics

Wales purpose to finish Pingdemic earlier than England presses Boris Johnson

Huw Fairclough / Getty Images / TOLGA AKMEN / POOL / AFP via Getty ImagesWales First Minister Mark Drakeford and Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is under renewed pressure to accelerate plans to get fully vaccinated adults out of the Covid quarantine after the Welsh government announced it would begin the move on August 7th.

Double-hitting adults in Wales will no longer need to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone with the virus, with the change going into effect a full nine days before the UK August 16 deadline.

The prime minister insisted this week that his own deadline for the major policy change is “pegged” and Downing Street confirmed Thursday that he was “fairly forceful” of his schedule.

But Tory MPs and corporations paralyzed by staff shortages are sure to call for a similar acceleration in England after new numbers show the Pingdemic hit record numbers.

Welsh First Secretary Mark Drakeford announced that NHS Wales’ Test Trace Protect (TTP) service will use the Welsh Immunization Service to identify fully vaccinated adults who no longer need to self-isolate.

He added that children in Wales will be exempted from home quarantine starting August 7th – the day the country is expected to finally be exempted from most of the Covid restrictions known as “level zero”.

Drakeford stressed that anyone who tests positive for coronavirus or has symptoms must continue to isolate for 10 days, whether or not they have been vaccinated.

“We know that a full vaccination will protect people from the virus and that they will be far less infected when identified as close contacts. That means they don’t have to self-isolate for 10 days, ”he said.

“We can remove the need for self-isolation for the two million adults who have completed their vaccination course, thereby helping Wales to stay safe and functional.”

Wales is keen to ease the pressure on vital services caused by the recent rapid spike in Covid cases, fueled by the Delta variant over the past two months.

The number of cases has increased 800% since the end of May when they were still at very low levels. Over the past week, case numbers have fallen across all parts of Wales.

The acceleration in the exemption date is also partly due to 80% of adults in Wales being fully vaccinated – the best rates in the UK and some of the best in the world. In England the number of double stitches is 71%.

About 689,313 alerts were sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app in England and Wales, telling them that they were in close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

The latest NHS numbers for the week ending July 21 were an 11% increase from the previous record high of 619,733 warnings a week earlier.

Instead of instructing fully vaccinated adults to isolate themselves, starting August 7th, contact tracers and counselors in Wales will advise and guide them on how to protect themselves and stay safe.

The TTP service will provide a “warning and information service” for all fully vaccinated adults and under 18 who are identified as close contacts.

For those who work with vulnerable people, especially health and social workers, some additional safety precautions are put in place, including a health and care worker risk assessment and daily lateral flow tests.

The public is strongly advised not to visit hospitals and nursing homes for 10 days.

Everyone identified as a contact person for a positive case is still recommended – but not required – to perform a PCR test on the second and eighth day, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

The new policy affects adults who have been 14 days since their last dose of vaccine.

Separately, the Welsh government announced Thursday that young adults aged 17 years and 9 months will now be invited to book a vaccination or visit walk-in vaccination clinics for their first dose.

Again, this is ahead of England and appears to be due to the country’s higher vaccination rate.

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