From next week the majority of the country’s Covid restrictions will be relaxed, while the National Public Health Emergency Team will be officially disbanded.
Tony Holohan, the Chief Medical Officer has recommended that Ireland’s remaining restrictions be removed, these would include mask wearing and social distancing.
As part of these easing of restrictions, free PCR availability would also be affected, as most people will no longer be eligible for a free PCR test.
The change which takes effect Monday 28th February will include a change in test centres, only those over 55, those who are pregnant, those who are immunocompromised or those who are living with someone who is immunocompromise. These are the only people who will be covered by the HSE for a free PCR test.
Currently free PCR tests are only available to those who are over 40 years old and currently have Covid symptoms.
As of next week you will no longer be eligible for a free PCR test if you are under 55 years of age with Covid symptoms or if you require a PCR for travel reasons. The cost of PCR for the previous groups may be upwards of €60 per test.
The government has encouraged those in Ireland to continue to antigen test if they have been experiencing Covid symptoms
From next week it will now be optional for people to wear masks in schools or while on public transport.
Dr Tony Holohan said that he will continue to keep an eye on on the country’s progress even after NEPHET disbands.