Cullinane: Antigen testing situation an "absolute disaster"

Cullinane: Antigen testing situation an "absolute disaster"

THE handling of antigen testing and the communication around it has been an "absolute disaster", according to Sinn Fein Health Spokesperson David Cullinane.

The TD has criticised a "lack of planning, energy and urgency" on a number of Covid-related issues, including antigen testing on which the the public is "unclear" and the fact that this morning (Wednesday) there are, reportedly, no Covid-19 PCR tests available in Waterford.

Some 14 counties, according to the HSE portal, are currently without PCR tests which David Cullinane says is "very frustrating" when people with symptoms are being asked to self-isolate and book in for PCR tests.

He told Maria McCann on Deise Today that it's "not much to ask" to have testing available as quickly as possible once symptoms develop.


"There are so many problems that really shouldn't be here two years into this pandemic when so much experience has been built up."

According to RTE this morning, the HSE's online portal cites no PCR tests available in Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Meath, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow, Kerry, Laois, Louth and Leitrim.

The HSE's lead for the test and trace programme has said that despite providing over 200,000 PCR tests in the last week, there is pressure to try and meet the demand for timely PCR tests nationwide.

Damien McCallion said that one million people have had PCR tests in the last six to seven weeks, and while laboratories are working well, the pressure is being felt at swab centres.


David Cullinane has said, in his view, it's time to re-open walk-in tests centres as the situation needs to be brought under control.

He was very critical of the handling of antigen testing, saying the Government was still "dragging its feet" on this - and the public were very unclear.

"We need a coherent plan and consistency, communicate directly and have a joined up response between health officials and Government," the Waterford TD said.