28 Jun 2022

'It is like déjà vu' - TD says reason for PCR test capacity crisis is lack of planning

'It is like déjà vu' - TD says reason for PCR test capacity crisis is lack of planning

'It is like déjà vu' - TD says reason for PCR test capacity crisis is lack of planning

A TD believes the reason for the PCR test capacity crisis is because the government has not planned. 

Deputy Pearse Doherty made the comments in the Dáil yesterday (November 25th) during Leaders' Questions, after asking Tánaiste Leo Varadkar what was being done to address the lack of availability. 

He said, "As we come into the winter period, we will always have an increase in respiratory illnesses. We have this conversation every year; it is like déjà vu. The problem is not that we are in the winter period or the flu period but that the Government has not planned." 

His comments come after a week where people experienced great difficulty arranging PCR tests, with just three counties offering available slots on Wednesday evening. 

Tánaiste Varadkar replied to the deputy and said, "The problem we are facing is that we have a pandemic that is not under control and is unpredictable. We have capacity to carry out approximately 30,000 PCR tests a day in our swabbing centres and even more than that in our laboratories, but there are limits to capacity in any system, in any country.

"When we have a situation where, on any given day, there could be hundreds of thousands of people with respiratory symptoms, there is no capacity that could deal with or cope with that." 

Currently, priority is being given to GP referrals and people who are confirmed close contacts of positive cases. 

As of publication, twelve counties across the country have PCR test availability including Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Galway, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, and Westmeath. 

However, three of these counties have just 50 appointments or less available, with some as low as five (Westmeath). 

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