Coronavirus testing is ‘available for everyone who needs it’ – health minister
Coronavirus testing is available for everyone who needs it, the Stormont health minister has said.
Robin Swann said there has been additional demand on testing with the return of children to schools, but said more than ever are being tested in response.
He expressed concern about the potential for an “inaccurate narrative” developing that could put those who need a test off coming forward.
“People who are experiencing difficulties in booking a test, I would ask them to leave the automatic system for an hour and try again, because more tests are put online as demand increases,” he told the Stormont health committee on Thursday.
“I would be very concerned if an inaccurate public narrative were to develop that tests weren’t available, or that people have to travel excessive distances.
“Such a misunderstanding could see people that need to be tested not coming forward.
“Yesterday we tested many more people than ever we had before.
“The testing is there for everyone that needs it.”
Mr Swann issued a reminder that only those with symptoms of Covid-19, such as a new continuous cough, fever/high temperature, loss of sense of taste or smell, should seek testing.
“If you do not have these specific symptoms, but do have other cold-like symptoms, a runny nose, you do not need to get tested, and a child can go to school if they are fit to do so.”
The latest coronavirus statistics released by the Department of Health on Thursday revealed that there had been a further death with the virus, bringing the total toll in Northern Ireland to 563.
Meanwhile another 77 people have tested positive for Covid-19.
Some 467 new cases of the virus have been detected in the last seven days, bringing the total in the region to 7,442.