CMO allays Covid-19 transmission concerns as children return to school

CMO allays Covid-19 transmission concerns as children return to school

IRELAND's Chief Medical Officer has moved to reassure parents as children return to school after the summer holidays.

This weekend, Dr Tony Holohan said Covid-19 transmission levels were "simply too high".

With more than 500 cases per 100,000 of the population over the past 14 days, the CMO said Ireland would be deemed a dark red country according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control's categorisation.

However with many pupils already back at school as the holidays draw to a close, Dr Holohan stressed that schools are not a major source of disease transmission.

"This year, these preparations [for returning to school] are being made at a time when our country is experiencing a very high incidence of Covid-19," said Dr Holohan.

"It is important to remember that our experience to date is that the school environment was not a major source of disease transmission and that school reopening did not have a significant effect on the incidence of Covid-19 in children.

"In fact, any increase in incidence among children is often linked to the events that occur around school as much as the events that occur within school."

He added: "It is important that we continue to socialise safely and continue to adhere to the public health measures we are all so familiar with and that our schools have successfully implemented… wash hands or use hand sanitiser, wear a mask if this is what is recommended in your school environment, keep your distance and avoid crowds."

He added that parents should not send their children to school if they are showing Covid-19 symptoms.

The latest figures from the Department of Health show that as of midnight on Saturday, there were 1,706 new cases of Covid-19, down from 1,997 cases 24 hours earlier.

There are currently 347 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 60 are in intensive care.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, 1,225 new positive cases and nine deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours.

Similarly, that was down from 1,430 cases 24 hours earlier, although Friday also saw six Covid-19 deaths recorded.