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Less invasive nasal swab to be applied for Covid-19 testing on children

The period of isolation following onset of symptoms has also been reduced from 14 days to 10 days.

Image: Shutterstock/Photoroyalty

PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS have confirmed that a less invasive Covid-19 test will be applied going forward for children. 

Until now, children being tested for the virus would undergo a nasopharyngeal test – a swab which extends through to the back of the nose – the same test used for adults.

Concerns, however, have been expressed that it is too invasive and traumatic for a child to experience with suggestions that an alternative test method should be considered. 

Following discussions and a subsequent recommendation from NPHET, it was suggested that children will now be given a nasal swab. 

Acting CMO Dr Ronan Glynn this evening said: “It has been agreed that nasal swabs are an acceptable alternative to nasopharyngeal swab for use in children in the community.

“This will hopefully make testing a simpler process for children going forward.”

Glynn said the recommendation was made as “Covid-19 is an evolving pandemic and NPHET is committed to adapting advice and guidelines based on emerging evidence”.

The public health team has also moved to reduce the number of days a person should isolate for from 14 days to 10 days.

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That period of isolation is to begin following the initial onset of symptoms. 

A statement from the Department of Health said: “The period of self-isolation for a case of Covid-19 has changed to 10 days from onset of symptoms (or 10 days from date of test if asymptomatic), the last five of which should be without fever.

“The period for restricting movements for those who are close contacts of a case, or who have travelled to Ireland from a country not on the green list has not changed, and remains at 14 days. Guidance will be updated in the coming days to reflect this change.”

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