Ireland relaxes COVID-19 testing rules, cuts isolation period


DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland on Thursday grew to become the newest nation to chop the isolation period for some individuals who contract COVID-19 and chill out necessities for exams as a file variety of circumstances for the fourth time in every week overwhelmed testing amenities.

With the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus accounting for 92% of all infections, the well being division reported 20,554 new circumstances, greater than double the file in any earlier wave to carry the 14-day an infection price to 2,300 per 100,000 folks.

With lengthy isolation occasions and shut contact guidelines inflicting employees disruptions to public transport, retail and hospitality, the federal government lower the isolation period to seven days from 10 for individuals who have examined optimistic however have acquired a booster vaccine or been contaminated inside the earlier three months.

Ministers additionally requested well being chiefs to maintain beneath evaluation the present steerage that shut contacts of confirmed circumstances should limit their actions, even when they aren’t symptomatic, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly mentioned in an announcement.

Donnelly additionally mentioned that these aged 4-39 years ought to solely search a PCR check if they’ve a optimistic at-home fast antigen check after on-line appointments for the free exams run by the well being service have been snapped up in minutes every day this week.

If the fast exams are repeatedly detrimental, any symptomatic folks in that age bracket ought to proceed to self-isolate till 48 hours after their signs have resolved.

Public well being officers in Ireland lengthy resisted counting on antigen exams to regulate the unfold of COVID-19 and authorities dropped a plan to subsidise the fast exams final month after ministers mentioned retailers had lower their costs sufficiently.

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan additionally urged folks to maintain their social contacts as little as attainable forward of the standard New Year’s Eve celebrations. Bars and eating places in Ireland should shut at 8 p.m. beneath restrictions launched earlier this month.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; modifying by Grant McCool)

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