Antigen tests to be used to identify Covid cases in schools 6 months ago

Antigen tests to be used to identify Covid cases in schools

Antigen tests and contact tracing to help Covid surge.

The Government has stressed that they will do everything to ensure Ireland's schools remain open.

Cases are continuing to rise among school children, but extending midterm break has been ruled out by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

He believes children have "missed enough school as it is".

He added, "The fact that there's a higher incidence among children aged between five and 12 is not a surprise. There is a lot of the virus about and this is a group that is not vaccinated.

"But at the same time, we're seeing a slight fall among people over 80 and that's a sign the boosters are working."

"As things stand, we're not anticipating any school closures or extension of the half-term or Christmas breaks, we're not anywhere near that point yet."

Antigen testing and contact tracing will reportedly help tackle the surge of Covid cases in schools.

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There was huge uproar when Covid-19 measures were changed in Ireland's schools earlier this year.

Varadkar said children in pods with a confirmed Covid-19 case may be sent an antigen test.

NPHET is also set to discuss the reintroduction of contact tracing in schools, but there are concerns about the length of time children will have to isolate for.

Varadkar told reporters yesterday, “If one kid gets infected, then it might make sense to test all the kids in the pod as well, using rapid tests."

“What we don’t want to go back to is children being excluded from school for 10 days because that was very disruptive and larger than necessary because the vast majority of them didn’t have Covid."

The news comes after the rollout of antigen tests for close contacts without Covid-19 symptoms.

The HSE will send free kits to fully vaccinated, non-symptomatic close contacts.