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Taoiseach says weekly testing to begin at meat plants and direct provision centres

Martin said serial testing at nursing homes will also continue to monitor the situation.


THE TAOISEACH HAS said weekly coronavirus testing for workers at meat processing plants and residents of direct provision centres is to begin, as health officials work to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Following a meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 today, Micheál Martin said weekly testing will start first in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, where clusters of infection have been identified in recent weeks. 

“It will be weekly initially in the three counties, but across the country we will also be doing it. Obviously that will progress to fortnightly over time, but there will be a serial, systemic programme of testing in all meat plants across the country along with direct provision centres,” he said.

“As you know that was particularly successful for nursing homes and that will continue with nursing homes on a regular basis as well.”

Martin said serial testing at nursing homes will also continue to monitor the situation. 

“That programme is particularly important in terms of identifying, contact tracing and isolating any further cases.”

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The Taoiseach said the health service’s testing and contact tracing capacity is strong and while there is concern about recent spikes, community transmission remains stable.

The sub-committee will meet again next week to discuss a medium-term plan for the next six to nine months, “planning for the next phase of living with Covid-19″, he said.

“We’ve opened up to a considerable degree our economy and our society. Obviously, like other countries, there’s been an increase in numbers so we’ve got to look through and plan ahead in terms of potential scenarios that might emerge, but also how we maintain that level of economic activity now over the next six months whilst protecting people and while keeping community transmission low.”

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