The National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL), located in University College Dublin (UCD) will not be able to process Covid-19 swabs for the next two weekends due to “Unavoidable staff shortages.” 

The NVRL, which is the largest Covid-19 Swab test centre in Ireland stated: “due to unavoidable staff shortages, the NVRL will not be able to provide any Sars-CovV-2 (Coronavirus tests) on the weekend of the 24th, 25th and 26th of October, and the weekend of October 31st to November 1st”.

It is currently unclear as to why such shortages have come about. The College Tribune reached out to the director of the NVRL on the matter but are yet to receive a response. The Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is yet to make a comment, as is the HSE.

The announcement will have a dent in the mass amount of testing done in recent weeks by the HSE, who conducted just short of 20,000 tests per day on average, the highest amount of daily testing since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Ireland. Sinn Fein TD Louise O’Reilly described COVID testing as “absolutely essential” and “a vital tool in our battle with the virus” 

The news comes less than 48 hours after ‘level 5’ of the government’s ‘Living With Covid’ plan came into effect. In the last two weeks, Ireland’s case rate has increased dramatically across all counties, hence the rules which are among the strictest in Europe.

More to follow as we get it…

Luke Murphy – Co-Editor