Routine testing for healthcare workers needed - Trinity College immunologist

Tests for healthcare workers should be considered every two to three weeks, in order to stop the continued spread of Covid-19 to other workplace and living settings, according to an Irish immunologist.

Dr Tomás Ryan, from Trinity College in Dublin, says that the number of health staff with Covid-19 in Ireland is extraordinarily high, when compared to other countries, including the UK, where a large number of healthcare workers were not presenting symptoms.

"It's 4% in China, 20% in Spain, 10% in Italy, but here, over 30% of people with Covid-19 are healthcare workers.

"There have been some very disturbing studies coming out from the UK that show that between 3 and 5% of all healthcare workers in England have coronavirus, and 50% of those people are totally asymptomatic."

The claims come as an intensive care boss has said hospital staff are “considerably worried” over the risks of a second wave of the virus, as Ireland relaxes its quarantine rules.

Dr Catherine Motherway, president of the Intensive Care Society of Ireland, said there is particular concern ahead of next winter’s flu season, as the hospital system is always under pressure during that period.