November 18, 2020
David Cullinane TD Welcomes EU Commission Recommendation on Rapid Antigen Testing for Covid

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has welcomed the European Commission’s recommendation and endorsement of rapid antigen testing for Covid-19.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The European Commission’s recommendations on the use of rapid antigen testing for Covid-19 are timely and welcome.

“This will allow us to move proactively in identifying the virus in the community. It is a decisive tool which can be used to slow the spread of the virus.

“The Commission is also due to make resources available to step up rapid testing capacity. We must make full use of this and more must come from Government.

“Rapid antigen tests can confirm a symptomatic case of Covid-19 within 15 minutes.

“These tests are not a replacement for PCR testing, but they can greatly supplement our testing capacity.

“We have been calling on these tests to be deployed at healthcare facilities, airports, nursing homes, meat plants, congregated and closed settings such as direct provision and prisons, and other settings where they can catch symptomatic cases. Using them in schools should be examined if appropriate.

“Rapid testing can also be used to take pressure off the PCR system for screening asymptomatic populations or confirming suspected cases which rapid tests returned negative.

“The Commission has now published guidance on how to select tests, when they are appropriate, and who should perform them.

“We need to support domestic production capacity and roll out rapid testing in all appropriate settings as quickly as possible.

“Importantly, rapid testing requires a lower skilled workforce than PCR testing. We must train up this workforce quickly and deploy them across the state.

“Work to progress this should already have been underway – it has been known for some time now that this technology was on the verge of being ready to deploy.

“The longer we delay taking the necessary steps to utilise this technology as widely as possible, the longer it will take to slow the course of the virus.

“This is another important step towards beating the virus and will help identify and shut down outbreaks quickly.”

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