Twitter Reacts As Welsh Government Loans England Four Million Covid Tests

"Always nice to be able to help one of those failed states you hear about on the news."
UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Mark Drakeford, the first minister of Wales.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Mark Drakeford, the first minister of Wales.

The Welsh government has come to the aid of Westminster by loaning England four million lateral flow Covid tests – a move that has delighted many on social media after recent attacks on the devolved administration from London-based politicians and media.

A surge in demand for Covid-19 tests has led to Boris Johnson’s administration scrambling to secure supplies from around the world, with home testing key to England avoiding a full-blown lockdown.

Home delivery slots for lateral flow tests are periodically unavailable on the website and pharmacies have also complained about patchy supplies of lateral flow kits.

Johnson previously urged people in England heading out for New Year’s Eve festivities on Friday to get tested. In England – unlike other parts of the UK – nightclubs remain open and there are no limits on social mixing.

On Thursday, the Welsh government agreed to loan four million more tests to the NHS in England – bringing the total the country has given England to 10 million.

First minister Mark Drakeford said: “Wales has a significant stock of lateral flow tests, sufficient to meet our needs over the weeks ahead.”

The moved was seized on by many on social media – particularly in light of recent attacks on the Welsh government in recent days.

The Telegraph’s Madeline Grant labelled Welsh devolution “inherently biased towards failure and authoritarian politics”, and the Welsh government was criticised for forcing civil servants to sign up to “woke” values – though critics point out that the UK government gives the same advice.

And Tory MP Michael Fabricant said that he was justified in criticising devolution because “I subsidise Wales and all this nonsense as all English people do”.

Meanwhile, in a letter to MPs, health secretary Sajid Javid said the supply of lateral flow devices was being tripled in January and February from a pre-Omicron plan of 100 million to 300 million per month.

“To respond to anticipated demand over the coming few weeks we are buying hundreds of millions more LFD tests, bringing new products on board and accelerating their deployment to the public,” he said.

But “in light of the huge demand for LFDs seen over the last three weeks, we expect to need to constrain the system at certain points over the next two weeks to manage supply over the course of each day, with new tranches of supply released regularly throughout each day”.


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