Government reveals who will be given free antigen tests
The Government has ruled out supplying free antigen tests to the wider public.
Antigen tests will be given to those in school setting and close contacts of positive Covid cases for free.
Speaking on Morning Ireland, Minister Donelly said the cost of the tests will be subsidised.
"The advice I have is they shouldn’t be free. They have them free in the UK and the government came under huge criticism from parliament for that because essentially there were no controls on how they were being used at all," he said.
Donnelly added, "They’re very, very expensive, so every time you subsidise an antigen test, it’s money you’re not spending on a nurse, you’re not spending on a doctor.”
He stressed that antigen tests will be sold at a lower price in the coming week.
I'm announcing updates to the COVID-19 Vaccination programme. Boosters will be offered to all those aged 50-59, all remaining residents in healthcare facilities not covered previously, all those aged 16+ with underlying conditions.#ForUsAll #BoostersWork https://t.co/0dXz7TUtsa pic.twitter.com/A4yFleLnel
— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) November 16, 2021
A box of 5 antigen tests will be sent to anyone who is a close contact of a confirmed Covid case.
The Health Minister stressed that people need to remember that you can only use an antigen test if you have no Covid symptoms.
If you have Covid-19 symptoms then you should arrange a free PCR test.
Donnelly's comments come after the Government announced new measures to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Nightclubs, bars, and restaurants now have to close at midnight.
Covid passes will be needed in both cinemas and theatres.
If you live with a positive Covid case you must restrict their movements for 5 days. You also need to take 3 antigen tests if you have no symptoms. This rule is effective immediately and must be followed by everyone, regardless of vaccine status.
People have also been advised to work from home from this Friday.
Boosters will also be offered to people over the age of 50, as well as anyone who has an underlying condition.