Thursday, 15 October 2020
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
Leo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
The Deputy is correct. There are particular exception and circumstances.
With regard to rapid testing, I share the Deputy Kelly's view. Rapid testing, antigen testing, has a role to play in getting on top of this virus. Unlike polymerase chain reaction, PCR, which costs nearly €150 to €200 per go, rapid testing is approximately €5 to €10 and one gets a result quickly. It could be helpful in screening visitors to nursing homes, people in hospitals, hospital staff, and potentially, for travel. The Deputy and I probably see the potential for and agree on this and know other countries are using this, including countries such as Germany, for example, that are good at managing the pandemic.
As things stand, HIQA has done a health technology assessment on this. I have not had sight of it yet. I understand NPHET and the advisory committee are giving it consideration and have yet to come a decision as to whether they believe antigen testing has a role to play in Ireland. I will, however, encourage them to make that decision as quickly as possible. Decisions were made slowly on face coverings. They should not be made slowly on this.