Reopening of schools in January will aid Covid spread, prof warns

Professor Jack Lambert said that schools had not been properly prepared for reopening last September
Reopening of schools in January will aid Covid spread, prof warns

Vivienne Clarke

A lack of ventilation measures in Irish schools means that children could be infected when they return to classrooms in January and bring the coronavirus home to vulnerable family members, an infectious diseases expert has warned.

Professor Jack Lambert said that schools had not been properly prepared for reopening last September.

“I have to ask what is the plan for living with Covid,” he told the Late Breakfast with Clare McKenna show on Newstalk radio. “We need a long term plan, not just lip service.”

Prof Lambert called for “practical tests” to be put in place as an alternative to PCR tests.

Ireland was six months behind on antigen testing because of “failures by Government,” he said. There were other options besides PCR testing, he added.

Prof Lambert also said that the booster campaign should have commenced in September and called on the HSE to simplify its online system for booking boosters.

'Not all bad news'

However, the situation was “not all doom and gloom,” he added.

“Let’s not scare people, let’s inform people.”

Ireland was not unique, Prof Lambert said, and Covid-19 was not acting differently here.

Data from South Africa and the UK had shown that the Omicron variant was more infectious but less lethal, so the current high case numbers were not all bad news.

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