A lab in Germany is on standby to process up to 2,000 Covid-19 tests a day from Ireland.
The HSE says a deal has been reached with the facility to create 'surge capacity' — meaning additional tests could be carried out in Germany if Ireland reaches its 15,000 daily testing capacity limit, according to a report in today’s.
Over 85,000 tests have been completed here in the past week alone.
The HSE say its agreement with the German lab is capped at 2,000 tests per day, and that it will only be used if capacity is exceeded here.
Meanwhile, Irish hospitals are trying to increase their own testing capacities.
The HSE says it is currently supplying more testing kits to hospitals in the hopes of helping them increase daily testing total from 3,500 to 5,000 per day.
While there has been increased focus on Ireland’s testing capacities in recent days, health officials have said that testing is just one of the ways in which the spread of the virus can be slowed.
In a tweet this morning, HSE chief executive, Paul Reid said testing wouldn’t provide the public with “a suit of armour” against the virus.
He said: “Our first line of defence is ourselves and what we do.
In the past 7 days we've completed over 85,000 #COVID19 tests & met all demand. However testing doesn't provide us with a "suit of armour" against the virus. Our first line of defence is ourselves and what we do. It's serious again but we can turn this around too. @HSELive— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) September 21, 2020
Also this morning, Chair of Nphet Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Professor Philip Nolan said limiting social contacts remained the key way to protect against the virus.
Prof. Nolan said that increased testing was important, but the primary defence was still to limit contacts and to exercise caution.
He said: “The subtle message is to reduce your social contacts by half and, if we do that, Dublin can move down from level 3 to level 2 and other counties will be able to avoid those restrictions that were imposed on Dublin."