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Testing times Professor Luke O’Neill says antigen testing is a 'key weapon for reopening society’

"Clearly the Delta is out there; that’s changed everything. We need to be a little bit careful, but we have to start reopening."

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Luke O'Neill (Photography by Ruth Medjber)

Luke O'Neill (Photography by Ruth Medjber)

Luke O'Neill (Photography by Ruth Medjber)

Antigen testing should be a key weapon as Ireland begins to return to normality, immunology professor Luke O’Neill has said.

Prof O’Neill said we now must start reopening society as Ireland has vaccinated the majority of its adults and that rapid antigen testing will be a key weapon in that reopening.

While Prof O’Neill pointed out the Delta variant means we must remain cautious, the Trinity College immunologist said Ireland should now move ahead with reopening, as the Government prepares to publish their roadmap for the months ahead, next week.

“Clearly the Delta is out there; that’s changed everything. We need to be a little bit careful, but we have to start reopening.

“My former colleague Paul Moynagh was saying this and I agree with him 100pc - we need to get back towards things.

“We’ll need to observe certain things - we’ll have to wear masks indoors still, and antigen testing is a key weapon. They’ll still be in place for the foreseeable future,” Prof O’Neill told Pat Kenny on Newstalk radio.

Prof O’Neill said it was “unnerving” to see large crowds of people not wearing masks at yesterday’s All-Ireland final but said he hoped most of those in attendance were fully vaccinated, as Ireland reached 85pc of adults fully protected this weekend.

Prof O’Neill said once the vulnerable and elderly are given boosters, the surplus doses should then be given to developing countries and fit and healthy people don’t need a booster now.

“Give boosters to the vulnerable and the older people - the other people don’t really need a booster at the moment.

“Give that away to developing countries, and then come back [to the general population] next. That’d be the view of the WHO, which I would agree with,” Prof O’Neill said.

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