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04 Dec 2021

Today's return to schools after midterm break is safe, CMO Tony Holohan claims

Today's return to schools after midterm break is safe, CMO Tony Holohan claims

File Pic: Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, has said that the return of schools after the mid-term break on Monday is safe, despite a high incidence rate of COVID-19 among children.

His comments follow after he said that was "increasingly worried" by presence of 2,193 new COVID-19 cases last Wednesday.

It also follows a govt statement from Last Friday, which outlined that it has no intention of restoring contact-tracing system for schoolchildren amid a spike in cases among those aged between 5 and 12, despite calls to do so by the Irish National Teacher's Organisation (INTO).

Dr Holohan reassured parents and teachers by saying that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) would continue to monitor the level of the disease and review data, the international research and guidance and "to update our advice accordingly."

He explained that international evidence showed that in the vast majority of cases, children who became infected with Covid-19 experienced mild symptoms or were asymptomatic: "The public health advice is based on scientific evidence and the direct experience of the pandemic in Ireland."

Dr Holohan added: "It shows that child-to-child transmission is uncommon in school settings where there are preventive measures in place like those throughout our schools."

Similar sentiments were shared by Infectious diseases expert Dr Sam McConkey, who said he wasn’t "wildly concerned" about children returning to primary school, as the virus generally doesn’t "make them [kids] very sick."

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