N. Ireland suspends routine screening due to COVID-19

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Northern Ireland has temporarily halted screening for a number of routine applications, as healthcare facilities and staff redirect their resources to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a report posted on ITV.com.

Screening programs placed on hold in Northern Ireland include the following:

  • Routine cervical cancer and breast cancer screening
  • Bowel cancer screening
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening and surveillance monitoring
  • Routine diabetic eye screening and surveillance monitoring

There are exceptions to the temporary halt, such as the following:

  • Higher-risk breast screening
  • Diabetic eye screening for pregnant women
  • Newborn bloodspot screening and hearing screening prior to discharge from maternity units only
  • Antenatal infections screening
  • Smear tests for nonroutine cervical screening

Robin Swann, Northern Ireland's health minister, said he took the action because many people who participate in screening programs are at higher risk for contracting the novel coronavirus, and the region needs to minimize the chance of all people contracting the virus.

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