Some people who are told to self-isolate for up to 14 days in Wales will be eligible for financial support from the Welsh Government, it has been announced.
People on low incomes (and in receipt of universal credit or another specified benefit) will be able to apply to receive a £500 payment if they have tested positive for Coronavirus or have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect Service because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. It is currently unknown though as to whether people instructed to isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app will be eligible.
A new top-up payment is also being introduced for social care workers (including personal assistants) in Wales, which will see statutory sick pay increased to their normal wages if they have to self-isolate due to COVID-19.
Up to £32m is being made available for the two schemes which will be launched soon. People will be able to apply for the £500 payments via their local authority website and payments will be backdated to October 23. The Statutory Sick Pay Enhancement scheme for the social care sector will start on 1 November and run up to 31 March 2021.
Further, regulations will be strengthened to make it an offence to knowingly provide false information to the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service.
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford also announced on Friday that following the end of the fire-break lockdown on 9 November, a new set of ‘simpler’ national rules will be put in place, rather than regional restrictions as seen earlier in the Autumn.
Mr Drakeford said that the Welsh Cabinet will be finalising the new national measures over the weekend and that he will report final details of the measures at a press conference on Monday.
He urged people to take the new rules seriously when they come into effect, saying, “Please do not treat the new rules as if they are a game”.
The latest Coronavirus case rate in Wales is 220 cases per 100,000 people, while 1700 new cases of the virus were confirmed over the latest 24 hour period.