Q Why are some experts saying coronavirus testing here is still the weakest link in easing our way out of the lockdown?
A The World Health Organisation (WHO) has ruled there must be reliable real-time testing in place to track and trace people with the virus and their contacts before any easing of restrictions.
If that is absent public health officials will be trying to police the virus spread in the risky post-lockdown phase with a blindfold. There is a danger of missing any rise in cases or pockets of serious infection.
Q Will that kind of system be in place by May 5?
A The plan is to have real time testing available with results in 24-48 hours. A wider range of the population also needs to be tested. Neither is yet in place.
Q So who is being tested and why is the net not being cast wider?
A The priority groups eligible for testing are quite confined and include healthcare workers and people with underlying conditions.
Long-stay residents and staff are being tested, as are patients admitted to hospital suspected of having the virus.
But GPs say the number of patients they are referring for testing is quite low because the criteria is so limited.
Immunology expert Paul Moynagh of Maynooth University estimated only one in 10 cases is being detected.
Q How many tests are being carried out?
A There are only around 1,300 to 1,500 referrals for testing a day. There is capacity to do around 10,000 a day and some of this is currently being given over to analysing tests from nursing homes and other long-stay facilities.
Since last weekend all residents and staff in these centres are being tested.
But there are a lot of people out there who have coronavirus symptoms who are not being tested.
Q Will this change?
A The plan is to widen the range of people eligible for testing, including asymptomatic people - who are outwardly well - who have been in contact with a person who tested positive.
Q If more people are found to be positive will the health service be able to trace their contacts?
A There have been too many anecdotal and other reports highlighting how some contacts were not notified or else not told for a number of days. It means vital time is lost - fast tracing is key.
The HSE said it is working towards ramping up its tracing. Around 1,700 have been trained in this so far. There is also talk of an app - which has yet to materialise - people can get on their phones which would allow their contact with a confirmed case to be identified.
Q There was a problem in the past with a shortage of kits for swabbing. Has that been sorted?
A The HSE says it has secured a supplier which should be able to maintain stocks.
Q There were serious issues with laboratories also which were causing delays. Are they still causing them?
A The problem with the laboratories was a lack of reagent, which is needed as part of the process to analyse the swab for the virus. There is a worldwide shortage.
But thanks to the efforts of Irish medic Dr Paul O'Brien, who worked in China, a supply has been secured from his contacts there.
A collaborative effort was made with Irish doctors and agencies to secure the 19 testing machines. The supplies from China are now being shared among labs here across the country.
It will allow labs to scale up testing and aim for that 24-hour turnaround time for results which is needed.
Q Are there enough labs to carry out the testing?
A The National Virus Reference Laboratory in UCD is now supplemented by other labs across the country, including the private Enfer facility and hospital-based facilities.
Q Is there a target for the number of tests we should be carrying out?
A The National Public Health Emergency Team said there must be an expansion of testing capacity to 100,000 per week for a minimum six months.
Q How long are people waiting for a test result?
A People who are tested outside of hospital are still facing a delay of several days. It is more immediate for hospital patients.
Q Are there other issues like computer systems that need to be aligned?
A There is evidence some people who had a test never got a result which signals something may be going wrong with the information flow.
Q Are there flaws in this grand plan?
A There is no transparent strategy. What about alternative rapid tests, or even antibody tests?
Q If the testing reaches top level what are the benefits?
A It will provide confidence in deciding to ease restrictions or extend them as far as is safely possible.