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NPHET recommends new testing regime to reduce number of days of restricted movement for close contacts

NPHET has written to Government.

Image: Sasko Lazarov

NPHET HAS WRITTEN to the Government and recommended a reduction in the number of days close contacts must restrict their movements if they test negative and are asymptomatic. 

In a letter sent to Government, NPHET said the Health Information and Quality  Authority (HIQA) had updated its analysis on the potential impact of different testing scenarios to reduce how long someone has to restrict their movements. 

NPHET also said that due to the reduction in confirmed cases and increasing capacity within the testing system, it is recommending that there should be a recommencement of twice testing of all close contacts of confirmed cases at Day 0 and Day 10 since their last exposure to a confirmed case. 

These close contacts can now end their period of restricted movement from 14 days to 10 days if they receive a “not detected” result from their Day 10 test and remain asymptomatic. 

For healthcare workers, those who are designated close contacts should also move to testing at Day 0 and Day 10 (currently Day 5 and Day 10) since their last exposure to a confirmed case. 

The letter to government also states that NPHET estimates that the reproduction rate for the virus in now somewhere between 0.5 and 0.8. Cases have decreased significantly since the highs of 8,000+ cases per day at the start of January but the letter states that the infection rates in Ireland are still “very high”. 

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NPHET has estimated that daily case numbers should fall between 200 and 400 by the end of the month. 

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