NHS services in north Wales are not expected to become overwhelmed by coronavirus, it has been said.

The Leader reported yesterday how First Minister Mark Drakeford said he believed north Wales to be reaching its coronavirus peak and how it is expected that a "pattern of decline" should follow.

At the following day's briefing, Health Minister Vaughan Gething announced changes to testing - both in care homes and through home testing kits.

He also spoke of the pressure the virus is expected to exert on NHS services in north Wales going forward, explaining: "At the start of this we spoke about staying at home, saving lives and protecting the NHS. "We were really concerned that the NHS could be overwhelmed - [both] in the dignity of care and the ability to treat people.

"In north Wales we don't expect the system to be overwhelmed, but it is at a different level in the 'curve' of the pandemic to other places in Wales.

"It is still the case that that the amount of coronavirus per hear of population is lower in north Wales than all of the south Wales health boards and in the south east. "But we continue to look at what is happening in north Wales and that is why the message about staying home, staying local and staying safe is so important."

The minister explained that in terms of care homes, testing will be available to all residents and staff who have not previously tested positive in homes where there is an ongoing outbreak.

Testing will also be offered to all symptomatic and asymptomatic staff and residents, he said, in addition to those who have never tested positive for coronavirus - even where the home has not reported any cases.

Speaking of testing for the general public and for critical workers, he explained: "I am very pleased that we have been able to resolve data issues that now enable us to join the UK website for booking tests.

"All critical workers in Wales who need a test can now use the UK website to book a home testing kit.

"It will soon be extended to include the option to book a slot at one of the drive-through testing centres, the eight mobile testing units and the 20 community testing units across Wales.

"In the meantime, existing local referral arrangements with Public Health Wales and local health boards remain in place.

"In terms of testing for the general public, everyone with symptoms of coronavirus - including a loss of smell and/or taste - can request a home testing kit using the new UK wide website booking system.

"A national bilingual telephone system is also available for people to order a home testing kit.

"This is a real step forward in increasing coronavirus testing."

To find out more information - as well as for links and the contact number for home testing kits - visit: https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test