DUBLIN, Ireland: Ireland's Health Service Executive will close its remaining Covid-19 testing centers this week.
Eileen Whelan, the director of the HSE's Covid-19 test, trace and vaccination program, noted that even as Covid testing centers close, the public should remain vigilant about contracting Covid.
"Our public health doctors have updated the advice and we have watched what's happening in other countries internationally. So this is a very measured approach. A lot of consideration has been put into this advice, and we're now three years into the pandemic and this is the best evidence that's available," Whelan said, as quoted by RTE.
Whelan also said that as of this week, PCR testing will no longer be required by the public.
While acknowledging that there is still a Covid emergency worldwide, Whelan said Ireland, in comparison with other countries, had vaccinated a high percentage of the population, thus no longer needing the same stringent restrictions as imposed earlier.
Whelan repeated ongoing medical advice for Ireland, noting that if a person has displayed Covid symptoms they should remain at home and avoid contact with other people, which will help to ensure that they break the chain of transmissions.
She also said that healthcare workers will continue to undergo Covid screenings.
At the same time that the Covid centers are being closed, there has been a doubling of people in Ireland who have been hospitalized with Covid-19.
As of March 27, 330 people in Ireland's hospitals have been diagnosed with Covid, compared to 137 at the start of March.
Additionally, there were 17 patients in intensive care suffering from Covid, up from six in mid-March.