Stop The Covid Chaos – We Need Free Antigen Tests And A Ramped Up Pcr Testing System

Government inaction has caused chaos over the Christmas period with many people unable to access PCR tests. Despite having the time to prepare for this new surge, the government refused to invest in the public health measures that were necessary.

In a statement Bríd Smith TD said,

‘This Government has shown its total incompetence on Covid crisis. Despite having ample time to prepare for new variants – which were inevitable once the EU backed up Big Pharma’s defence of patents – they failed to properly invest in our health capacity and ICU beds. They ran down the contact tracing system, effectively removing it from schools. A safe return to school will require the return of the contact tracing system, hepa-filter systems in every classroom and adequate staffing levels.

‘While a government spokesperson once warned against a reliance on antigen tests, they are now using it as a substitute for PCR testing. We need an immediate change of tack.

‘Instead of telling us that the market will reduce the price of antigen tests, the government should now make them freely available.

‘They should ramp up the PCR testing rather than telling us that it is no longer necessary. If private companies can set up test centres in hotel rooms, as Randox has done in at least one instance, there is no reason why the state cannot mobilise its resources to establish field hospitals and testing centres.

‘Reducing the days required to isolate with the virus from ten to seven, only serves to suit economic interests and not public health. Workers need to know that they are protected financially and legally against being forced back to work while they have the virus. In the absence of a PCR test employers and social protection officials must recognise the Antigen test results and ensure that workers are adequately paid to allow them isolate.

‘If these actions are not urgently taken, we face a social catastrophe in the coming weeks as our health service is over run.

2022 must be a time for real change