Minister for Health Simon Harris has acknowledged that it will probably take 10 more days to fully ramp up lab services around the country.
People must remember the test will not change medical advice and anyone with symptoms must stay at home, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
Mr Harris said the reality is the Government was meeting supply constraints that the rest of the world is experiencing, but he was satisfied that the health service was doing all that was humanly possible to ramp up testing.
Ireland is still testing more per head of population than most countries in the EU, he said.
Mr Harris added that he understands the frustration of people over 70, who want to go outside for brief periods during the day. They must stay at home in all circumstances - except in an emergency - because they are more susceptible to getting the virus in a serious way, he said.
“I am very aware that 70 is not old,” he said.
The Minister said he was asking people over the age of 70 to help by following public health messages as closely as they can.
In so far as is possible, if they share a house, they should also keep their distance from others in the house.