Covid-19 testing regime to be scaled back over coming weeks

By Thomas Telford

As the vaccination rollout begins to show its worth with hospital numbers starting to drop, the level of testing may be reduced under plans shown to Nphet.

A new paper details how the country will move away from mass level of testing and into a "stepwise" approach, which will guide officials on how to move on from the current system.

Under the new advice, some of the changes in testing include not testing vaccinated people who have mild respiratory symptoms and not testing children under 13 who are suffering from less severe effects unless they remain after 48 hours.

According to Professor Martin Cormican, the HSE's leading authority on infection control, the success of the vaccine means that testing can be done in "much more selectively".

"Planning for a transition from open access or mass scale…testing is important because as harm declines, the negative impacts of testing on the current scale are likely to become disproportionate to the benefits to human health."

In the most recently published case numbers, another 1,346 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Ireland, while 315 patients are being treated in hospital.

59 people are in ICU with Covid-19.

The figures were confirmed by the Department of Health.

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