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More than 177,000 PCR tests carried out in Carlow and Kilkenny since Pandemic began

It's as Cabinet's meeting today to discuss changes to the use of antigen tests, as well as to close contact rules

8,620 people have been tested for Covid-19 in Carlow and Kilkenny already this year.

More than 177,000 PCR tests have been carried out in the two counties since the pandemic started

There were nearly 23,000 completed in KIlkenny in 2020 with 75,000 last year and 5,507 so far this month.

Carlow’s testing centre has had over 4,000 visitors in 2020, 66,000 in 2021 and 3,113 already in 2022.

It’s as ministers are to discuss changes to the use of antigen tests today, in an effort to reduce pressure on PCR testing capacity.

Someone with a positive antigen test result will also no longer need a PCR to confirm their infection.

By Friday, those with positive antigen test results can record their infection status themselves on the HSE website.

Liam Fanning, Professor of Immunovirology at UCC, says greater recognition of antigen tests is a positive step forward.

While the Cabinet’s also expected to sign off on changes to the isolation rules for Covid close contacts when it meets this morning.

A proposal being brought by the Health Minister would scrap the five-day isolation requirements for asymptomatic close contacts who’ve had a booster.

Close contacts who’re vaccinated and have recovered from Covid in the past three months will also no longer need to self-isolate.