Walk-in COVID testing has been largely suspended as the HSE deals with a surge in demand.
The health service said walk-ins have been suspended to reduce queues at testing centres.
People can still self-refer themselves for a test – but should do so by booking an online appointment.
In a statement, the HSE said people booking a test early enough in the day should still be able to get one the same day.
It said testing is up 35% over the past two days and capacity in the system has now been extended to 20,000 tests per day.
“The HSE wants to minimise long waiting times at test centres and ensure quick and efficient PCR testing via scheduled appointments,” said a HSE spokesperson.
“It is also important we can focus on those who have been referred by a clinician or who are symptomatic and those who are close contacts of a confirmed case.”
She said GP referrals and online advance-booking appointments will be prioritised from today.
“This will reduce queuing times and ensure speedier testing access for all,” she said.
“Our priority is to ensure that the necessary volume of testing is available to those who most require it.”
The HSE is asking people who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic not to attend for testing unless instructed to do so by a doctor or public health.
Some walk-ins will still be accepted but people are being urged to book online before showing up at testing centres.