Health Minister Vaughan Gething, said today that the test, trace and protect system operating in Wales is “more efficient than our counterparts in England”.

England’s system, created at a staggering cost of £37billion, has been widely criticised since it came into operation.

The health minister said: "The Government is due to spend about another £45 million within this year" on the system, and announced an extra £50m to allow health boards to extend contact tracing over the summer.

Speaking about how much difference the system in Wales has made to protecting the public, Mr Gething said: “The impact is seen in the figures - 167,000 people contacted by our service.

"Over 99% of our first positive cases have been contacted, 95% of their close contacts have been contacted - and last week 88% of those contacts were contacted within 24 hours of us having their details."

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“It is a highly effective service, and it is one I am proud to say is a public service that is more efficient than our counterparts in England, in terms of reaching people, in terms of speed, but also in terms of value for money.

“This is a clear example where we should be proud that our public sector approach, the NHS and local government together, is delivering a better service."

Mr Gething admitted that the system wasn’t effective enough in preventing the spread of the disease completely, given successive lockdowns, but said the contact trace service was "not a fail-safe".

"It does not mean that an effective contacting trace service means that people can mix freely or ignore the rules and restrictions," he said.

"The virus doesn’t really care about the effectiveness of the contact and trace service. The virus wants to continue producing and moving and moving on.

"As we ease out of lockdown it will be the choices we make that will be the important factor."

Mr Gething ended his remarks by saying how grateful he remains to people across Wales for the support shown in supporting the Welsh Government's Coronavirus measures.

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