An Ennis GP says changing self-isolating rules for children who are close contacts of COVID-19 cases would be ‘premature’.
It’s understood health officials are considering allowing them to avoid self-isolating if they don’t have symptoms, due to increased pressure on testing.
Walk-in test sites across the country have been suspended after long queues formed over the last few days.
The facility at Ennis’ centre in Ballymaley Business Park was one of the first to temporarily halt its services earlier this week.
Six counties – Cork, Kerry, Kildare, Wicklow, Limerick and Monaghan – have no appointments available at Covid-19 testing centres for the rest of today.
People are being asked to book an appointment online instead, or to be referred directly by their GP.
The HSE says the recent rise in demand for Covid testing is being driven by children under the age of 14.
Niamh O’Beirne, the HSE’s national lead for testing and tracing, says volumes of young people presenting for self-referrals have been very high.
So far, up to 14,000 children have been deemed close contacts since schools reopened.
Professor Jack Lambert from the UCD School of Medicine says the likes of antigen testing should be looked at:
But despite the system coming under intense pressure, an Ennis GP says changing the rules for kids who are close contacts would make her nervous.
Dr Maire Finn says she isn’t sure whether such a move could be considered a positive one at this point.