Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

21.42 9 Sep 2020


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Serial coronavirus testing of staff in meat plants has been paused due to an increased demand for testing in the community.

Health officials have confirmed there's been more demand for community testing since schools reopened.

The HSE says testing demand "nearly trebled" on Monday with a requirement for over 13,000 community tests and over 3,000 hospital tests.

Staff at meat and food processing plants have started being tested regularly in recent weeks, with 40 positive cases detected so far as part of the process.

However, testing is now being rescheduled into next week as a precaution.

In a statement, the HSE said: "We are liaising directly with the facilities scheduled for testing and will be re-scheduling planned testing next week.

"It is important to remember that where an outbreak occurs in a plant then normal mass testing will still occur in meat plants. Public Health will be in touch locally in those situations.

"In the meantime, if a staff member develops symptoms of coronavirus, we would ask them to self-isolate and phone a GP to be referred for a free coronavirus test."

Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy said answers are now needed on why the serial testing has been paused.

He said: "It's an absolutely irresponsible decision that could prove potentially very dangerous for our communities.

"The Government need to explain how and why this decision was arrived at."

Deputy Carthy has called for the decision to be reversed.

Main image: File photo of coronavirus testing. Picture by: USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images

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