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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Sophie Collins

Huge Covid milestone for Ireland with PCR test centres to close this week amid new advice

Ireland has reached a major milestone since the Covid-19 pandemic began and shut the country for months on end as PCR test centres officially close this week.

The advice for the general public will also change from Thursday, March 30, as Covid-19 testing is no longer recommended for the vast majority of people, according to the HSE.

In line with this updated advice, community testing centres across the country and the self-referral portal for ordering PCR tests will no longer be required, and both will be shut down.

READ MORE: University Hospital Waterford closed to visitors after significant new outbreak of Covid-19

Speaking about these big changes, Dr. John Cuddihy, HSE National Director for Public Health said: “We are making these changes now based on best available evidence in relation to managing Covid-19, recognising the high level of vaccine-induced and naturally acquired population immunity in Ireland as well as the development of new treatments, all of which are mitigating the worst impacts of Covid-19 infection”.

Going forward, Dr. Cuddihy said people who develop mild symptoms of Covid-19 or other viral respiratory infections should stay home and limit contact until 48 hours after they have subsided.

He explained: “Testing for Covid-19 will not be necessary for the vast majority of the population. For most people, if they have symptoms of Covid-19 or other viral respiratory tract infections, they should stay at home and limit contact with others until 48 hours after their symptoms have substantially or fully resolved – they do not need to do a Covid-19 test”.

Eileen Whelan, HSE Lead for Covid-19 Test and Trace and Vaccination, added: “From this Thursday, the self-referral portal on the HSE’s website, which enabled specific groups of the public to book their own PCR test, will no longer be required and will close”.

Among the updated advice was an end to required antigen testing for Health Care Workers who are household close contacts.

Huge Covid milestone for Ireland with PCR test centres to close this week amid new advice (Collins Photo Agency)

With this new advice, the current antigen-ordering portal on will also close.

Eileen Whelan went on to explain: “A reduced contact tracing service will remain and contact tracing will be limited to those who have had a positive test in settings and scenarios (such as hospitals and long term care facilities) where further transmission is likely and could have a serious impact based on Public Health Risk Assessment”.

Doctors in hospitals and in general practice settings will continue to use PCR and antigen testing to diagnose patients and decide what the best care is for each patient.

Public Health teams may also decide that Covid-19 testing is required in the management of an outbreak in a high-risk setting where they believe that further transmission is likely and could have serious impact, based on Public Health Risk Assessment.


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