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Fore the best Restrictions on golf and children’s sport could be eased, immunologist says

Children have lower viral loads than adults. It is known that transmission among children is not significant.”


Professor Kingston Mills

Professor Kingston Mills

Professor Kingston Mills

Golf for adults and children’s sports could be among the areas where there is room for easing of lockdown restrictions come April 5, according to a leading immunologist.

Trinity College Dublin immunologist Professor Kingston Mills said he saw scope for relaxation of restrictions in both these areas when decisions are made by public health officials and the Government next week.

”Outdoor activity is less of a risk than indoors. Among the biggest risks around sports are spectators. Last summer we had scenes of spectators invading pitches without wearing masks,” Prof Mills said. He said these are two areas that could be looked at next week.

Asked about the increase in Covid-19 cases among children, he said it is likely most of them are catching it from adults. He said: “Children have lower viral loads than adults. It is known that transmission among children is not significant.”

He was speaking as the National Public Health Emergency Team is set to meet on Monday to draw up their recommendations on what restrictions if any should be eased from April 5.

It comes as 20 more Covid-related deaths and 584 new cases were reported yesterday in another day of high case numbers.

There were 317 patients with the virus in hospital including 67 in intensive care.

But a further 25 patients were admitted in the previous twenty four hours.

Yesterday’s cases included 222 in Dublin, 44 in Kildare, 33 in Offaly, 31 in Meath, 29 in Westmeath and the remaining 225 spread across 19 other counties.

Around a fifth of people with the virus have no symptoms.

The five walk-in clinics in Dublin and Offaly, where people without symptoms can ask for a test without a referral, will operate until the middle of next week.

More than 3,900 people have taken a test in the centres over the past two days. The biggest demand was in Tallaght yesterday where 539 people were tested.

HSE figures show 446 were tested in the north inner city yesterday – 452 in Banchardstown, 349 in Irishtown and 380 in Tullamore.

The aim is to find people who have the virus in areas of high incidence who might otherwise be unaware they are infected.

New survey results from the ESRI yesterday showed that in the week beginning March 8 there was an increase in the number of people meeting others from outside their household.

The majority (55.9pc) expected restrictions to be eased in April. There was a rise to 81.8pc in the proportion of the population who say they will be vaccinated.

Most survey respondents (75pc) said preventing the spread of the virus is more important than the burden of restrictions but the percentage who disagree had increased in recent weeks.

Separately, there was good news on the Covid-19 vaccines front yesterday after the European Medicines Agency said its human medicines committee (CHMP) adopted several important recommendations that will increase manufacturing capacity and supply of Covid-19 vaccines in the EU.

A new manufacturing site has been approved for the production of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine active substance. The Halix site is located in Leiden, the Netherlands, and will bring the total number of manufacturing sites licensed for the production of the active substance of the vaccine to four.

The go-ahead was given for a new manufacturing site and more flexible storage conditions for Pfizer’s vaccine.

It also gave the green light for new manufacturing lines at the Moderna Lonza facility, located in Visp, Switzerland, together with other changes to the manufacturing.

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Irish Independent

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