Covid Testing Will Be Discontinued for Health-care Workers and Visitors Who Have No Symptoms

Covid-19 testing for most asymptomatic workers and visitors in health care facilities was discontinued from Monday.

The move comes after the north’s chief medical officer predicted that the number of Covid cases would climb again this winter.

The recommendation to test remains in effect for healthcare staff, nursing home residents, and hospital patients who develop symptoms.

Visitors with respiratory infection symptoms, including Covid, should continue to avoid trips to hospitals and care settings, according to health officials.

Lateral flow tests will continue to be provided at no cost to individuals who require them.

Professor Sir Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer, stated, “The frequency of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland has decreased dramatically from earlier this year.”

“As a result, asymptomatic testing in these groups can be paused at this time.”

“This aligns us with current policy in the other UK nations.”

“It is expected that case numbers will rise as we move through the autumn and winter months.”

“All testing measures will continue to be reviewed on a regular basis, and measures may be reintroduced if deemed proportionate and required, taking into account ongoing risk assessment, and to safeguard our most vulnerable.”

“At this time of year, with people spending more time indoors, respiratory infections, such as Covid-19 and influenza, can spread more rapidly and cause serious disease in certain people,” Sir Michael stated.

“It is critical that people pay attention to their symptoms and take appropriate and reasonable steps to limit their interaction with others if they acquire symptoms.”

“It is also critical that people continue to test where it is recommended if they develop symptoms.”

“Vaccination remains a great preventive measure against serious illness, hospitalization, or death.”

“The winter vaccination campaign, which includes the Covid-19 booster and influenza vaccine, has now begun with care home residents and staff.”

“This will be extended to other eligible groups in the coming weeks and months through GPs, community pharmacies, HSC Trusts, and schools.”

“I would encourage everyone who is eligible to prepare for winter by taking advantage of the free Covid-19 and influenza vaccinations.”

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