Antigen tests should be used twice weekly by people doing high-risk activities – Nphet

Letter sent to Government reccomends return to working from home where possible

Coronavirus: Nphet says people who regularly engage in high-risk activities such as going to nightclubs should consider self-testing twice a week. Photograph: Damien Eagers

Coronavirus: Nphet says people who regularly engage in high-risk activities such as going to nightclubs should consider self-testing twice a week. Photograph: Damien Eagers

 

People who engage in high-risk activities should consider taking an antigen test twice a week, the State’s public health team has recommended.

In a letter to Government, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) warned that the situation in relation to Covid-19 is concerning and uncertain, and that while it was not recommending any significant new restrictions, it cannot be ruled out in future.

As part of its recommendations, Nphet examined the use of antigen testing in society and said that people who regularly engage in high-risk activities such as going to nightclubs should consider self-testing perhaps twice a week.

The team also said the use of Covid certs should be extended to other areas that could be considered high risk but no specific locations or details were provided.

Earlier on Friday the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) published guidance stating visitors to nursing homes will be required to show proof of vaccination or immunity against Covid-19 from Monday.

Hospital Report

Confirmed cases in hospital Confirmed cases in ICU
824 79

Nphet also said that it may in future consider issuing advice on the wearing of masks for children under the age of 13.

A return to a policy of working from home where possible is one of the major recommendations. A Cabinet subcommittee may convene on Monday to discuss this before a decision is taken at Cabinet next Tuesday.

In its letter, Nphet put a strong emphasis on communications and compliance, with the Government being asked to remind people how to wear a mask correctly and when is a good idea to wear a mask, when is mandatory and when it is just advised.

It also said the HPSC will publish new guidance on ventilation shortly.

Overall, while Nphet did not recommend new restrictions, it said that the concerning high numbers meant it could not rule out a reintroduction of restrictions in future.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he got the Nphet letter this morning and that the increasing Covid-19 numbers are a concern.

He said the Government will consider Nphet’s advice on recommending that people go back to working from home.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, said the Cabinet Committee on Covid would consider Nphet’s recommendations on Monday before going to a full Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

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