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The HSE’s called on to use its maximum Covid-19 testing capacity after 196 new cases recorded, at least one in Kilkenny but no more in Carlow

It's as a drinks lobby group has accused public health doctors of having "an anti-pub agenda".

The HSE should be using its a maximum testing capacity every day.

That’s according to an immunology expert who says the turnaround time needs to be even faster.

Serial testing at meat factories has been temporarily suspended following an increase in GP referrals.

There were fears that if the number of referrals for tests continued to rise, the system would reach its capacity for 100 thousand tests a week very quickly.

Associate Professor in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin Tomás Ryan says we need to make the most of testing noting “You know your testing capacity shouldn’t be a target it should be a daily reality, if we have a testing reality of 15,000 tests a day then we should be doing about 15,000 tests a day for whatever purpose we can make use of it”.

It’s as 196 more people have tested positive for Covid-19, 107 of them in Dublin alone.

There were cases recorded in 22 counties yesterday, including in Kilkenny with no extra incidences in Carlow, but no further deaths among patients. (More on those figures here).

Professor Anthony Staines of DCU says the current level of testing may need to be kept up for more than a year commenting “The hospital staff who have done extraordinary work, I don’t think they could have done more, but there’s not enough of them, there really does need to be a serious increase, that’s going to be expensive, but this is a virus that’s costing us a billion a month or more, it’s well worth investing some tens of millions in proper testing, in more staffing, more machines”.

Meanwhile, a drinks lobby group has accused public health doctors of having “an anti-pub agenda”.

The Licenced Vintners’ Association says any extension of pub closures will mean some owners will default on their mortgages.

The National Public Health Emergency Team is now considering further restrictions in the capital after a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases there.

LVA chief executive Donal O’Keeffe is adamant his members need to open on the 21st of the month as planned saying “It’s clear to us they have an anti-pub agenda, they have worked to keep pubs closed since we closed voluntarily last March, we think the time to reopen has come, these businesses have not made any contribution to the infection rate in the country, they’ve been closed for six months, they are not the source of the problem, NPHET need to direct their focus to where the problem is emerging and it simply cannot be emerging from closed pubs”.

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