16/04/2021

Close Contacts Of Confirmed Coronavirus Cases To Take A PCR Test

Close contacts of confirmed cases of Cornavirus will be asked to take a PCR test withing 48 hours of being identified, even if they do not have symptoms.

Until now only people with symptoms had to take a PCR test. This additional measure, which will see all close contacts advised to have a PCR test, is aimed at identifying those close contacts who do not have symptoms but who could potentially be carrying the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This testing of asymptomatic contacts will provide further opportunities to identify more cases who would otherwise be unknown, to the Contact Tracing Service.
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Health Minister Robin Swann said: "Testing of close contacts is the next step in the ongoing development of our testing initiatives in Northern Ireland. Expanding and targeting PCR testing is a significant move in our fight against COVID-19, it will assist us as we move carefully out of restrictions and in keeping Northern Ireland open and moving.

"We know that one in three people with COVID-19 may not have symptoms and may therefore spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus without knowing it. By recommending PCR testing to all close contacts we will track how the virus is spreading and this will help to further break chains of infection. Testing of close contact combined with enhanced contact tracing allows us to identify potential sources of infection an new cases earlier and will help keep us one step ahead in interrupting transmission."

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