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'No one should have to pay': Acting CMO says Covid-19 tests should be free for the public

There are concerns that the cost of tests could stop those with the virus from coming forward.

Image: Shutterstock/Horth Rasur

THE ACTING CHIEF Medical Officer has said that people should not have to pay for a Covid-19 test if they are concerned that they have the virus.

It follows concerns that the potential cost of getting a test could prevent those who have the virus from contacting their doctor if they are showing symptoms. 

At a briefing of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) this evening, Dr Ronan Glynn emphasised the importance of enabling all members of the public to present for testing.

“No one should have to pay. If [people] are concerned they’ve got Covid, they should have an assessment with their GP and they should be able to get a test without any charge,” he said.

“That has to be fundamental in the management of this pandemic. People need to be able to come forward and get tested quickly where they’ve got symptoms or where they’ve any concerns.”

Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Siobhán Ní Bhriain also confirmed that the HSE would pay for tests for workers at meat factories where Covid-19 clusters had emerged.

It follows concerns by SIPTU, which represents many of the workers, about how the testing of staff at the factories would be paid for.

Meanwhile, Glynn also urged parents not to be concerned about the possible transmission of the virus in schools ahead of their re-opening later this month, following reports of a cluster at a creche in the east of the country.

“We expect there to be cases, and we expect there to be clusters in schools when schools re-open,” he said.

“There’s no zero-risk environment in relation to this pandemic, unfortunately.”

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However, the Acting CMO stressed that the rate of transmission between children and from children to adults was not efficient.

“Thankfully, it appears in the vast majority of cases of children who do get this disease, they do not suffer any serious consequences as a result…

“I fully understand that parents will have concerns about their children going back to schools, but equally there are a whole range of other social, educational consequences for children if they’re not receiving an education.”

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