Farmers with herds that are overdue a TB test will not face any restrictions for 35 days, as opposed to seven days, DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced.
Outlining the reason for the change Minister Poots said: “These are worrying times for us all and COVID-19 has, and continues to force us to consider the ways in which we work, and our current working practices.
“Last week, my Department updated the position with regard to TB testing during the pandemic. In general, TB testing should not take place unless both the vet and the farmer are certain that social distancing can be maintained throughout the test in line with Public Health Agency guidelines.
“I recognise that social distancing can have significant implications for our farming community. I have therefore taken the decision to extend the time at which a herd is placed under restrictions for an overdue herd test. With immediate effect, farmers will not automatically have their herd restricted until 35 days after their TB test becomes overdue. This will help facilitate those herds that are not currently under a TB restriction to continue to trade as normally as possible during these difficult times.”
As the Department is currently operating in a fast paced and ever changing environment, all decisions and current practices will be kept under constant review.
Health advice and information on government services is available at: www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus and www.nidirect.gov.uk/coronavirus