Health officials never said that schools are a safe environment amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s deputy chief medical officer has said.
Dr Ronan Glynn, a member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), said on Wednesday that schools are not as safe now as they were a number of months ago amid soaring rates of the virus.
The latest figures show 16,500 children tested positive for Covid-19 in the past two weeks. 24 clusters were identified in schools last week, compared to 16 the previous week.
“What I would fully accept is that schools are not as safe now as they were, when [Covid] incidence was lower a number of months ago,” Dr Glynn told the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk.
“No environment is as safe now as it was then, and we’ve said all along that when incidence is really high in the community, as it is at the moment, then schools are not as safe as they would otherwise be.
“We’ve never said that schools are a safe environment, we’ve said they’re a lower-risk environment.”
Dr Glynn said on Wednesday that it is “simply too early to say” if further Covid-19 restrictions will be needed to halt surging cases.
Nphet will meet tomorrow to consider the current trajectory of the virus, with it expected that new measures will not be decided upon until next week.
“Nphet will meet tomorrow, we’ll look at the data and there are promising signs,” Dr Glynn said.
“People are cancelling events, people are saying that they’re altering their plans in the weeks ahead to meet less people and to reduce their social contacts – and ultimately if people follow through with that, that’s going to have a positive impact on the trajectory of this disease.”
It comes as a further 3,893 Covid-19 cases were confirmed in the State this evening, along with 43 deaths of those with the disease over the past week.
Breaking infections down by county, each one in the State is now recording an infection rate of at least 1,000 cases per 100,000 people.