Lack of testing turned Powys care homes into 'coronavirus war zones'

A social care leader is demanding a public inquiry into the lack of Covid-19 testing which he claims turned some care homes in Powys into “coronavirus war zones".

Mario Kreft MBE, the chair of Care Forum Wales
Mario Kreft MBE, the chair of Care Forum Wales

Mario Kreft, the chair of Care Forum Wales, spoke out after a survey by the organisation revealed that 42 per cent of care homes felt they had been pressurised into accepting hospital patients who were either Covid-19 positive or had not been tested.

Coronavirus testing is now being extended to call care home residents and staff in Wales, after the Welsh Government initially opted to only test individuals with symptoms.

More than 11,000 people have died in care homes after a testing positive for the virus in the UK so far, including 2,377 in Wales.

Mr Kreft said: “Putting pressure on care homes to admit hospital patients who were Covid-19 positive or without being tested turned safe havens into coronavirus war zones.

"The magnificent staff in our care homes have fought this virus heroically and as a result 80 per cent of them remain virus free.

“But once the wolf was through the door it was too late because this contagion is so exceptionally infectious.

“It’s a tragic contrast to a whole host of other countries, including Germany, Greece and Portugal, who locked down earlier and harder and used mass testing to contain the virus.

“Here we adopted a policy of protecting the NHS at all costs and social care was right at the back of the queue in terms of effort and resources. The UK just didn’t have the right mindset.

"We very much welcome the decision to test all care home residents for Covid-19 but once again I’m afraid the response has been woefully behind the curve."

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