Public health expert warns it will 'be difficult' to keep schools open

Public Health Expert Warns It Will 'Be Difficult' To Keep Schools Open
DCU Professor Anthony Staines says the number of coronavirus cases continues to be stubbornly high, and we're not making much progress driving it down. Photo: Getty Images
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Digital Desk Staff

A public health expert says it is going to be difficult to keep schools open.

DCU Professor Anthony Staines thinks the latest Covid-19 figures are a little disappointing, with 525 new cases and 9 more deaths.

He says the number of coronavirus cases continues to be stubbornly high, and we are not making much progress driving it down.

Professor Staines says it will be hard to lift restrictions due to current case numbers: “I think until we can drive it down, the risks of opening our economy further will be very substantial.

“It is also going to be difficult to keep schools open. We are already seeing more and more cases in schools.”

He also said some children risk being isolated because they are contacts of children who are infected with Covid-19.


His comments come as the Health Protection Surveillance Centre confirmed that as of March 13th there were eight new outbreaks of Covid-19 in school settings.

Meanwhile, The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) said of the new cases confirmed last night, 266 were in Dublin, 33 in Meath, 29 in Wexford, 25 in Offaly, 24 in Donegal, and the remaining 148 cases were spread across 19 other counties

The latest figures show also 328 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, with 83 in ICU.

Offaly has the highest incidence rate in the country at 389 cases per 100,000, followed by Longford at 277 and Kildare at 238.

Vaccine rollout

As the vaccine rollout continues, 1,100 people will get a vaccine shot today at the Helix Theatre in Dublin as the inoculation drive continues there.

It comes after a marathon 12-hour push there yesterday to inject 3,000 people aged 80 and up.

Dr Ray Walley, general practice advisor to the HSE, says not one drop will go to waste: “We might even get a few extra doses if we get more out of vials.

“We have a spares list that we call if necessary at short notice. We will definitely get 1,100 and that effectively means in excess of 4,000 will have been done.”

He said the people who will be getting vaccinated today are those aged 85 and over who are receiving their second dose, and those over 80 who will be receiving their first dose,

HSE chief, Paul Reid said yesterday he was inspired by people over 75 who were so grateful to be getting vaccinated.

He said: “Today, I again experienced a Vaccination Centre for some of our most vulnerable, those over 75yrs. Such gratitude, joy & humbleness would warm anyone's heart. They've sacrificed so much but were so inspiring in their positivity. A lesson for us all in life."

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