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Covid-19 testing centres to close nationally, as testing no longer needed for 'vast majority'

Both PCR and antigen testing will continue to be used by doctors in hospitals and general practices

COMMUNITY COVIID-19 TESTING centres and the self-referral portal for ordering PCR tests are closing at the end of this month, as according to public health advice testing is no longer needed for “the vast majority”. 

Testing centres across the country will be closed as of 30th March, as they have been deemed unnecessary. 

Dr John Cuddihy, the HSE National Director for Public Health said that these changes are being made based on the “best available evidence in relation to managing Covid-19″ and in recognition of the high level of vaccine-induced and “naturally acquired” immunity in Ireland. 

He also said that the developments new treatments to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 has been a factor in the decision. 

“Testing for Covid-19 will not be necessary for the vast majority of the population. For most people, if they have symptoms of Covid-19 or other viral respiratory tract infections, they should stay at home and limit contact with others until 48 hours after their symptoms have substantially or fully resolved – they do not need to do a Covid-19 test,” he added. 

Eileen Whelan, the HSE lead for Covid-19 Test and Trace and Vaccination, explained that a reduced contact tracing service will remain and contact tracing will be limited to those who have had a positive test in settings and scenarios (such as hospitals and long term care facilities) where further transmission is likely, and could have a serious impact”. 

“Both PCR and antigen testing will continue to be used by doctors in hospitals and General Practice settings for the purpose of diagnosing and deciding on the provision of treatment for Covid-19 to a patient,” she added. 

Public Health teams may also decide that testing is required in the management of an outbreak in a high-risk setting where they believe that further transmission is likely, and could have a severe impact. 

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