Welsh National Opera Expands Long COVID Program Across Wales

By Francisco Salazar

Welsh National Opera has announced today that its Long COVID program Wellness with WNO is expanding across Wales.

Six health boards in Wales will be able to offer the rehabilitation service to patients, through direct referral to NHS Long COVID Services. The program shares techniques and strategies used by professional opera singers to support breath control, lung function, circulation, and posture.

Sessions will be delivered via Zoom to enable those living with fatigue to have access to the program without any barriers due to geographical location or ability to attend in-person sessions.

In a statement, about the Wellness with WNO, participant Gabby Curly said “Physically, the Wellness with WNO program gave me practical breathing exercises to relieve muscle tension around my ribs and help me to relax with my breathing. Emotionally, the support I received made me realize that I wasn’t alone. In the sessions, all my worries went out of my head and I found a real joy in taking part in singing. And you don’t have to be a good singer at all! I now have the confidence to sing out loud and not be conscious of whether I’m singing in tune, simply because I know how much it can help.”

Meanwhile, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said, “We are continuing to learn more about the long-term effects of COVID and we believe our approach of treating, supporting and managing people through our unique service model is the most efficient and effective way of achieving the best outcomes for people experiencing Long-COVID. It has been heartening to see the success of the Wellness with WNO project and the significant benefits it has provided for people’s health and wellbeing. I am glad this program will be expanded so even more people can take up the project to support their recovery and rehabilitation.”

This special program has been supported by the Arts Council of Wales: Arts, Health, and Wellbeing Lottery Fund, to specifically benefit the people of Wales both physically and mentally and is being delivered in partnership with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Hywel Dda University Health Board, and Swansea Bay University Health Board.