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NPHET say kids should avoid indoor activity and wear masks in school in latest advice to Government

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The National Public Health Emergency Team has recommended that children should not attend “extra-curricular” indoor gatherings such as communions, nativity plays and other seasonal events for at least two weeks.

Furthermore, children in third class or above should now wear masks while in school and those aged nine or older should be masked while in areas where face coverings are required by adults.

The group are also advising that children avoid indoor birthday parties, sleep-overs and play dates – however, these gatherings can to take place outdoors as long as they have small numbers.

The recommendations were made in the latest letter from Dr Tony Holohan to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on Thursday evening.

It comes after 8,000 cases were recorded in those aged between 0-18 in the last seven days up to Saturday.

Latest data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre showed that there were 7,117 Covid cases confirmed in those aged between five to 18 for the previous seven days until Saturday.

Of those cases, 166 were “confirmed” as being linked to an outbreak in a school or childcare facility. As well as this, recent HSE data shows that there were 30 outbreaks recorded in universities, schools, and childcare facilities last week.

NPHET had also recommended the extension of the Covid pass to all settings where there is high risk of transmission, through close contact or other activities, not yet covered by the current regime.

At a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, Dr Colm Henry said that while keeping schools open is not without risks, it is important for children’s overall health and wellbeing that schools remain open.

He said: “I would say the lesson we learned here… is that the closure of schools caused great harm. Covid can be acquired in school settings but school settings have become much more controlled.”



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