Covid-19: Five walk-in testing centres open to help identify asymptomatic cases

Centres located in areas with high infection rates, with four in Dublin and one in Offaly

Five walk-in Covid-19 testing centres aimed at picking up asymptomatic cases in areas with high rates of the disease opened on Thursday.

Four of the pop-up centres, where no prior appointment is needed, are located in Dublin, and another is in Co Offaly at Tullamore Leisure Centre.

The centres in Dublin are located at the National Aquatic Centre, Blanchardstown, Tallaght Stadium, Irishtown Stadium and Grangegorman Primary Care Centre car park.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) said it aims to carry out 300 to 500 tests per day in each centre, which will operate from 11am to 7pm every day.


Those who can avail of the testing centres should be over 16 years of age, live within 5km of the centre, and should not have Covid-19 symptoms or have tested positive in the last six months.

Those attending the walk-in centres must bring photo ID and have a mobile phone number to be contacted with their results.

People with Covid-19 symptoms have been asked to continue to contact their general practitioner for referral for a test.

Dr Una Fallon, HSE director of public health for the Midlands, said one walk-in testing centre had been located in Tullamore due to the “relatively high rate” of infections in Offaly.

The purpose of the testing centres was to “assess the level of asymptomatic infection in the community,” she told RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland.

Offaly has the highest incidence rate of the disease in the State, at 443.8 cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days.

Dr Fallon said this had been “driven” by a number of incidents and outbreaks, which still had to play out.

“We have an outbreak in one particular workplace and we have done a lot of testing in that setting and uncovered a lot of asymptomatic infection and we are doing another round of testing,” she said.


Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said progress suppressing the virus is in a "fragile" state, amid increasing numbers of infections and rising referrals for testing.

The National Public Health Emergency Team is due to meet on Monday, and afterwards will issue recommendations to the Government on proposed changing of restrictions.

The Government is to make a decision on Tuesday on whether it will relax any of the current Level 5 lockdown restrictions after April 5th.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has said college students should expect to be back on campus when the next academic year begins from September.

The rollout of the vaccination programme will mean “we will be in a different place” when the next college year begins, he told Newstalk Breakfast on Thursday.

Mr Harris said he agreed the 5km limit on non-essential travel was “driving people absolutely bonkers”.

He said he thought there would be a “slight easing” of restrictions in April, but much depended on the rollout of the vaccine. “We’re heading into summer when we can see more hope,” he added.

Latest figures from the HSE show there are 310 confirmed Covid-19 cases in hospitals. This is a drop from 350 hospitalisations the week before.

There are 75 Covid-19 patients in intensive care units, 49 of whom were in Dublin hospitals.