People doing high-risk activities should antigen test twice weekly, Nphet says

Nphet said it could not rule out restrictions as the Covid-19 situation remains concerning and uncertain
People doing high-risk activities should antigen test twice weekly, Nphet says

People who engage in high-risk activities should consider taking an antigen test twice a week, the National Public Health Emergency Team has recommended.

In a letter to Government, the State’s public health team said that while it was not recommending any significant new restrictions, it could not rule them out in the future as the Covid-19 situation remains concerning and uncertain.

The Irish Times reports that as part of its recommendations, Nphet examined the use of antigen testing in society and said people who regularly engage in high-risk activities such as going to nightclubs should consider self-testing twice a week.

Nphet also recommended the use of Covid certs be extended to other areas that could be considered high risk, but no specific details were provided.

Earlier on Friday, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) published guidance stating visitors to nursing homes will be required to show proof of vaccination or immunity against Covid-19 from Monday.

Masks for children

Nphet also said that it may in future consider issuing advice on the wearing of masks for children under the age of 13.

A return to a policy of working from home where possible is another one of the major recommendations, and a Cabinet subcommittee may convene on Monday to discuss this before a decision is taken at Cabinet next Tuesday.

“I think it’s important that we have a single coherent clear message for employers and employees [on working from home] so the government is listening to Nphet’s advice and there will be a public announcement on Tuesday,” Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, said.

“What we will have to consider now as a government, taking on board the Nphet letter, is whether to continue the policy of the phased return to the workplace which has been government policy up to now and that is something we will have to consider, having carefully studied their letter.”

The letter came after the secretary of the Infectious Disease Society of Ireland said going into an office for work every day was riskier than occasionally going to a nightclub.

Infectious diseases consultant Dr Eoghan de Barra said going to a nightclub is an occasional event while going to an office is a daily event with other people, which is a bigger risk.

In its letter to Government, Nphet placed strong emphasis on communications and compliance, asking the Government to remind people how to wear a mask correctly and when is a good idea to wear a mask, when is mandatory and when it is just advised.

It also said the HPSC will publish new guidance on ventilation shortly.

A further 3,680 cases of the virus were confirmed in the State on Thursday. The latest figures showed there were 528 people in hospital with Covid-19 on Thursday night, with 96 of those in ICU.

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