Majority of people no longer need to be tested for Covid-19
By The Headlines, March 30, 2023 | 07:05 PM
Public health advice no longer recommends Covid-19 testing for the majority of the population.
This transition away from the pandemic-induced protocols marks a notable milestone, as it has been three years since the initial implementation of these rules.
All PCR testing centres across the country have been shut down while the HSE website's self-referral portal to book tests is also no longer available.
Starting today, healthcare workers who have been in close contact with someone in their household are no longer required to take antigen tests.
In line with this, the antigen-ordering facility on HSE.ie has been closed and health and care workers will receive specific guidelines separately.
The HSE has declared that their choices are supported by the most up-to-date evidence regarding virus control and due to the increasing number of people being vaccinated or with immunity from prior infection.
Dr John Cuddihy, HSE National Director for Public Health, declared that the decision is reflective of the high degree of population immunity resulting from vaccines and natural acquisition in Ireland, and also due to advancements in treatments which have proved effective against Covid-19.
According to the HSE, anyone who has Covid symptoms or any other similar upper-respiratory virus should remain at home and avoid any contact with others until 48 hours after their symptoms have cleared up.
Covid-19 tests are not necessary for them.
The HSE has stated that PCR and antigen testing will still be employed in hospitals and GP settings to accurately diagnose Covid-19 and offer the correct treatments.
Testing for the virus is a wise strategy for public health teams when managing an outbreak in a high-risk setting, to effectively prevent further transmission and reduce its serious impact.
The HSE has shifted its Covid-19 strategy away from broad testing and contact tracing, according to an announcement.
Eileen Whelan, Lead for Covid-19 Test and Trace and Vaccination stated: Contact tracing will continue, however, it will be limited to individuals who test positive and settings where further transmission of the virus is likely and deemed high risk according to a Public Health Risk Assessment.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) website provides comprehensive information on the existing public health guidelines.