More than 300 people have been tested for Covid-19 at three testing centres in the midlands today.

Two pop-up testing facilities have been opened in Newbridge, Co Kildare and in Portlaoise, Co Laois, while the HSE has also reactivated the testing centre on the outskirts of Tullamore, Co Offaly where queues formed this morning.

So far 120 tests have been carried out in Newbridge and 130 in Tullamore. A further 60 people have been tested at the Co Laois facility, which only opened this afternoon. 

Restrictions have been reintroduced in counties Laois, Offaly and Kildare following a spike in Covid-19 cases in the region.

The testing facility in Newbridge is being run by the National Ambulance Service and will be open over the weekend. 

It has capacity to carry out 45 swabs an hour, or 500 tests, today and tomorrow.

The testing site has been busy since opening at 10am this morning, but it is by appointment only.

Richard Quinlan, chief ambulance officer for North Leinster, said patients of all ages have been coming in to be swabbed. 

"This is to aid anyone who would be booked for a test at short notice. And as part of a local lockdown, it is to facilitate a large volume of testing in a short space of time," he said.


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Under the restrictions announced by the Government yesterday evening, residents of the three counties will face restrictions on their movements for the next two weeks but will be allowed to travel for farming and certain family reasons.

There will be limits on movement, meaning people should only travel out of their county for certain reasons such as childcare or looking after vulnerable relatives.

People can also travel outside those counties for work, but only in cases where they cannot work from home.

Since last night, cafés, restaurants and bars have been closed, and there will be no sporting events or matches.

All outdoor gatherings are to be limited to a maximum of 15 people, while maintaining social distancing. 

Garda checkpoints will be put in place in the three counties involved, with the government due to sign a regulation to enforce the measures over the weekend.

Theatres, museums, galleries, bingo halls, casinos, betting shops and other indoor recreational and cultural outlets are also closed.