The HSE has announced that GPs can now order tests for Covid-19, but will not be undertaking the testing of possible carriers so as to protect their staff and other patients.

Warning people to “be patient” as their service is “already under pressure, the HSE is reportedly utilizing the electronic processing system “Healthlink” to allow GPs send their patients for testing at local centres currently being established.

People who think they may have contracted Covid-19 are asked to self-isolate and call their GP, not visit their surgery unannounced.

Additionally, the public are being asked not to call 999 and 112 except in case of emergency, whilst the HSE also reminded the public that out-of-hours GP centres cannot order tests.

“Individual GP practices will continue to look after their patients who have ongoing and acute illness, and we will continue to do so with the assistance of our dedicated staff,” said Dr Nuala O’Connor, the ICGP’s Clinical Lead on Covid-19.

The public are again being urged to limit the spread of Covid-19 by:

– washing hands properly and often
– practicing social distancing and avoiding crowds
– cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
– covering mouth and nose with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing
– staying at home as much as possible and self-isolating if symptomatic

The Irish government yesterday closed all hotels, clubs and pubs across the country for two weeks in an effort to contain the coronavirus, with 169 cases now confirmed in the Republic and 214 across the island of Ireland.

This follows the closure of all schools, colleges and childcare facilities last week. It is expected that the UK will follow suit this week, but a final decision is yet to be reached.