Staff members pictured at the Covid-19 testing centre at St John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin (file photo). Sam Boal/

Covid-19: Close contacts will be tested twice - on day 1 and day 7 - whether or not they have symptoms

The move has been welcomed as Ireland starts to slowly ease restrictions.

CLOSE CONTACTS OF people who are confirmed to have Covid-19 will be tested for the virus twice whether they have symptoms or not.

In a letter sent to members, the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has confirmed that, from today, all close contacts will be tested on day one and day seven.

The ICGP said it was informed of the change by the HSE yesterday.

The letter states that the development “does not change” what GPs currently do in relation to testing.

“However, it will now mean that the patient’s close contacts be tested on Day 1 and Day 7 whether or not they have symptoms. The tests will be ordered by Public Health when they identify the patient’s close contacts,” the document notes.

The close contact’s test results will be returned to both the person and their GP.

GPs have been advised to ask any patient they refer for testing to “make a note of who they were in close contact with during the previous 48 hours as Public Health will need this listing if they are tested positive”.

Asymptomatic cases

Maitiú Ó Tuathail, a GP based in Dublin, welcomed the development, saying it is “key given 50% of people are asymptomatic”, and the right move as restrictions start to ease from today.

There are now five scenarios where you can leave your home – to go to work if your workplace is open, to go to the shops, to exercise within five kilometres, for medical reasons, or to meet people in groups no bigger than four.

An overview of the Phase One changes can be read here.

Yesterday evening, health officials confirmed a further 10 deaths and 64 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland. It brings the total number of deaths here to 1,543 and the total number of confirmed cases to 24,112.

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