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Number of children aged five to 12 tested for Covid quadruples

A further 1,413 cases of Covid-19 were notified on today.
Sep 16th 2021, 7:29 PM 22,300 39

THE NUMBER OF children aged five to 12 tested for Covid-19 has quadrupled in the last three weeks, a senior health official has said.

About 1% of the age group are being tested for the virus every day.

Professor Philip Nolan, who chairs the Nphet Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said there is a modest increase in incidence in primary school children following the reopening of schools.

It comes as the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) said that children who are identified as a close contact of a confirmed case may no longer have to restrict their movements from next month.

The public health advisory team said this could be put in place if there is no significant rise in school transmission.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said that restrictions on movements on asymptomatic close contacts may soon be eased for wider society.

Nphet has also given the go-ahead for planned restrictions to be eased from Monday, which will see a phased return to the workplace and relaxation on rules for indoor and outdoor events.

Dr Nolan said they are seeing a “slow improvement” in the overall epidemiological situation, with incidence, numbers in hospital and daily admissions to hospital decreasing.

“The number of people in ICU remains high, and it will take a number of weeks for decreasing incidence before we see a significant decrease in the numbers requiring critical care,” he said.

“We have seen a huge increase in demand for testing of asymptomatic children who have come in contact with an infected person; testing in children aged five to 12 has quadrupled over the last three weeks, so we are now testing 1% of that age group every day.

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“The massive increase in testing has yielded a much smaller increase in the number of infections detected, and it is likely that there is at worst a modest increase in incidence in children of primary school age coincident with the opening of schools.

“What we are seeing is the benefits of very widespread vaccination – almost 90% of those aged 16 and over – along with population-wide adherence to basic mitigation measures.

“Incidence will decline further, reducing risk for all, if we stick with these measures.”

A further 1,413 cases of Covid-19 were notified today.

At 8am, there were 290 Covid-positive patients in hospital, with 67 in intensive care.

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