Ahead of the return to school, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, has moved to reassure parents.
“I am conscious that parents and guardians will be concerned about the high level of incidence of Covid-19 amongst the 5-12 age group, particularly as children head back to school on Monday after the mid-term.
“I want to reassure you that, as winter approaches, NPHET continues to monitor the level of incidence of the disease and to closely review the epidemiological data, the international research and guidance and to update our advice accordingly.
“International evidence tells us that, in the vast majority of cases, children who become infected with Covid-19 experience mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. The public health advice is based on scientific evidence and the direct experience of the pandemic in Ireland. It shows that child-to-child transmission is uncommon in school settings where there are preventive measures in place like those throughout our schools.
“As parents and guardians, you are playing an essential role in driving down Covid-19 infection in our communities. Please continue to observe the public health advice at home and at school drop off and pick up and remember to keep a safe 2m distance from other parents or guardians at these busy times.
“Washing hands, covering coughs, wearing masks and staying home when we have symptoms, are becoming more commonplace and the continued practice by families and loved ones who visit your home will help to drive down transmission of this virus. Outdoor or well-ventilated indoor activities are safer for everyone. When planning social occasions, please keep the public health advice at the centre of what you do.
“I want to thank parents and guardians, grandparents, teachers, schools and of course, schoolchildren themselves, for continuing to work with us to limit the spread of Covid-19 and to keep driving down incidence of infection.
It comes as the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 1,963 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
As of 8am today, 500 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 93 are in ICU.