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NCT remains open during coronavirus shutdown - but some customers aren't turning up anyway

Test centres have introduced measures to tackle the spread of Covid-19.
Mar 25th 2020, 10:52 PM 46,706 92

TEST CENTRES ARE remaining open despite more drastic measures being taken to stop the spread of Covid-19, with the NCT reporting that some customers aren’t showing up for appointments.

On Tuesday evening, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced a raft of new measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak – including the closure of all non-essential shops and restricting gatherings of more than four people. 

NCT testing centres – alongside banks, opticians, laundries and a range of other businesses – will remain open for now. 

A spokesperson for Applus, the company which currently operates the NCT test on behalf of the State, told TheJournal.ie that “the level of customers not showing up for appointments has marginally increased”.

However, they said that there were benefits to this for staff and for members of the public. 

“As some of our waiting areas are very small this is helping us try to adhere to the guidelines on physical distancing,” the spokesperson said. 

Varadkar has stressed that he won’t be using the term “lockdown”, calling it a cause of confusion. But with a large portion of shops, businesses and buildings closed across the country, few “essential” outlets remain open. 

The NCT says that it has introduced new measures in a bid to ensure public safety, including asking that only the person presenting a vehicle for inspection attends the appointment and asking people not to bring children to test centres. 

The spokesperson said that customers are being asked to “leave windows lowered to allow for air to ventilate naturally throughout the vehicle before the inspector gets into it”.

“In addition, they are also requested to ensure the air vents in the vehicle are closed and the fans are reduced to the lowest level,” the spokesperson said.

People are also being asked to ensure their vehicle is clean and free from tissues and wipes, while between each test vehicle inspectors change their gloves.

The spokesperson said that “staff are trying to minimise contact with customers as much as possible and what our staff have noticed is that the customers are doing the same”.

“A lot of customers are being very proactive and arriving to the centre with their own gloves on and bringing their own sanitiser,” they added.

Test centres are also leaving “all entrance doors open to remove risk of virus transfer via door handles”. 

As things stand, there are 1,564 cases of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland and nine people have died. 

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Dominic McGrath

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