The Taoiseach says he believes antigen testing has role to play in the reopening of schools – but he will continue to follow public health advice on the matter.
Micheál Martin was speaking as more than 10,000 are restricting their movements at home after being designated as close contacts.
More than 1,600 schools have reported positive cases since reopening and the HSE is dealing with a surge in testing among schoolchildren.
Meanwhile, the latest 14-day report from the HPSC found that one-fifth of Ireland’s new cases were under 12.
The situation has led to renewed calls for antigen testing to be deployed in schools and speaking to Newstalk Breakfast from the Fianna Fáil think-in County Cavan this morning, the Taoiseach said he supports the idea.
“I have been a strong advocate for antigen testing and I think there is a role for antigen testing but again we will take our advice from public health in respect of that,” he said.
He said NPHET warned the Government at the beginning of August that it was uncertain how the Delta variant would affect the reopening of schools.
“We never did a school opening with a variant as transmissible as Delta and it clearly is having an impact in terms of that close-contact issue,” he said.
“Now that will be reviewed and it is under constant review. I think the advice that has been given out by the HSE right through this has been solid and consistent and I trust in that public health advice to our schools.
“I have no doubt there will be engagement between both the Minister for Health and the Minister for Education and the public health authorities in terms of how we manage this in a practical way.”
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