| 7.2°C Belfast

Covid testing arrangements for New Year period released

Close

The Department of Health has taken steps to cope with the rising demand for PCR testing in Northern Ireland: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The Department of Health has taken steps to cope with the rising demand for PCR testing in Northern Ireland: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

PA

The Department of Health has taken steps to cope with the rising demand for PCR testing in Northern Ireland: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The Department for Health has announced new testing protocols for Covid PCR testing as infection levels continue to soar.

Yet another record number of infections in Northern Ireland was reported on Friday with 7,215 cases reported, which is 2,514 higher than Thursday’s tally.

In a statement outlining PCR testing arrangements for the New Year period, the Department said Covid levels in the community are “the highest rate they have ever been”.

With “a significant increase” in demand for PCR testing, new protocols have been introduced to ensure a supply for those who need it most.

Fully-vaccinated (two doses of a vaccine) close contacts of a postive case are no longer required to take a PCR test.

They are instead advised to take a lateral flow device (LFD) test as soon as possible, taking daily LFD tests until the tenth day after the last date of contact with the positive case.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

If a positive result is made at any time during the 10 days, or the person develops symptoms, they should isolate immediately and arrange a PCR test.

Unvaccinated people will have to continue to self-isolate form 10 days as before.

Children under the age of five will no long have to take a PCR test, even if they have symptoms like a cough or temperature, unless advised to do so by a doctor.

Parents are not encouraged to carry out a LFD test instead, and if positive should then take a LFD test.

All of the current guidance is available on the NI Direct website.

The Department has also assured the public that there is a sufficient supply of LFD tests in Northern Ireland, with community pharmacies and other collection sites being replenished.

An online site finder can be used to find the nearest collection point.

LFD tests can also be ordered for home delivery, but due to high demand will be released in batches throughout the day.

PCR testing sites remain available throughout the New Year period for those experiencing symptoms.

A reduced level of service will be in place on New Year’s Day, with Regional Test Sites (RTS) and Local Test Sites (LTS) are open from 10am to 3pm while Mobile Test Units (MTU) are open from 10am to 2pm.

From January 2, the normal hours for testing sites will be 9am-5.30pm for RTS, 8am-6pm for LTS and 9am-3pm for MTU.


Top Videos



Privacy