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NPHET Is Considering Plans To Scale Back Covid-19 Testing

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10:30 13 Sep 2021


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NPHET is considering scaling back Covid-19 testing with children under 13 and vaccinated people with mild symptoms not to be put forward for a swab.

It comes as the HSE's CEO Paul Reid suggested its time to re-consider keeping kids out of school if they're close contacts and don't have symptoms.

Under 18s made up almost half of all testing last week following the return of schools.

Around 7% of children being tested for Covid-19 in the past week are positive for the virus, according to the HSE.

The HSE says as the number of tests are going up, the positivity rate is coming down.

Niamh O'Beirne from the HSE says testing won't be scaled back anytime soon:

"There is a degree of uncertainty as to what would happen and certainly what would happen when.

"There is currently no plans to scale something down or to reduce any of the capacity that we have and you can see we're using it, at the moment it's very busy, so it needs to remain in place."

Close Contacts

Principals and teachers say a better system is needed for contact tracing in schools as thousands of children are missing from school again this week because they are considered close contacts of someone with Covid.

UCD Professor of Infectious Disease, Dr Jack Lambert says any changes to close contact rules for school children would put them at risk of Long Covid:

"You can just have mild symptoms and you can be 16-years-old and you can have 15 months of chronic fatigue syndrome and all sorts of neurological problems as part of Long Covid.

"I wouldn't downplay the seriousness of Covid infection in all populations including in young children, in young adults"

Follow @98FM on Twitter for the latest Dublin news


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