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Taoiseach says he's a 'strong believer' in antigen testing

The Taoiseach says he is concerned about the high number of COVID cases, ahead of a decision on virus restrictions.
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

18.34 18 Oct 2021


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Taoiseach says he's a 'strong...

Taoiseach says he's a 'strong believer' in antigen testing

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

18.34 18 Oct 2021


Share this article


The Taoiseach says he’s a “strong believer” in the value of antigen testing.

While many countries widely use the rapid COVID-19 tests - also known as lateral flow tests - public health officials have cautioned about their rollout here in all but limited circumstances.

One of the warnings has been that individuals could get “inappropriate reassurance” from a negative result, but the tests are less sensitive than a PCR test.

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However, some sectors - including the entertainment and nightclub sectors - have urged the wider use of the tests to facilitate reopening.

Micheál Martin says he is in favour of their use.

He said: "I'm a strong believer in antigen testing.

"Our public health officials have a more moderated perspective on the value of antigen testing - but some sectors have rolled out antigen testing, and that's something the Government will be considering over the next 24 hours."

While it had been hoped most remaining restrictions would be removed on Friday, officials are worried about a recent surge in case numbers.

The Government is due to consider NPHET’s advice on the issue tomorrow.

The Taoiseach said rules around COVID certs for indoor venues could be extended beyond this week.

However, he said he's "not going to pre-empt" a Government decision.

Schools

Meanwhile, the INTO has called for more supports for schools amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

They want a pilot scheme for antigen testing in schools to be carried out, saying "we must use every tool at our disposal to protect our school communities".

The union is also calling for an "urgent review of the age restriction on the use of face coverings", as well the return of full contact tracing in schools.

Contact tracing rules for schools stopped last month, with close contacts in primary schools no longer having to self-isolate if they don't have symptoms of the virus.

However, concerns have been raised about the current system.

The principal of a Wexford school that has seen 30 cases of COVID-19 confirmed over the past week says they've relied on information from parents to gauge the full extent of the outbreak.

Main image: Micheál Martin (Photograph: Gary Ashe / RollingNews.ie) and an antigen test (Photograph: RollingNews.ie)

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