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Cases latest School Covid-19 outbreaks expected as 21,302 new cases confirmed

However, given the very high and rising incidence of Covid-19 across all age groups in the community, it is inevitable that children will pick up this infection from household contacts in the days and weeks ahead.

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There are currently no plans to delay the return of children to school this week

There are currently no plans to delay the return of children to school this week

There are currently no plans to delay the return of children to school this week

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has said it is “inevitable” children will contract Covid-19 from household contacts in the weeks ahead.

Dr Holohan said there will be outbreaks in schools and childcare settings as a result.

“We saw a significant reduction in incidence of Covid-19 in primary school going children through December.

“However, given the very high and rising incidence of Covid-19 across all age groups in the community, it is inevitable that children will pick up this infection from household contacts in the days and weeks ahead.

“We also know, as a result, that there will be cases and outbreaks in schools and childcare settings,” he said.

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Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan. Photo: Gareth Chaney

This comes as the Department of Health has confirmed 21,302 new cases of Covid-19 today.

As of 8am today, 884 patients were hospitalised with the virus, of whom 90 are in ICU.

Dr Holohan said the surge in infection rates is having a “major impact” on all essential services.

“For the second January in a row, a significant surge in infection from Covid-19 is having a major impact on essential services across all sectors, including the health service.

“As one of our key essential services – the education sector prepares to restart in person education this week, it is important that we continue to minimise, as much as we can, discretionary mixing indoors with people from other households,” he said.

Dr Holohan said there is still reason to believe that schools are a “lower risk” environment for the transmission of the virus.

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“The Irish and international experience of the pandemic continues to give us reason to believe that schools are a lower risk environment for the transmission of Covid-19 and that the majority of children who are infected experience a mild form of this disease.

“It is also important to note that children between the ages of five and 12 are now eligible for vaccination,” he said.

Dr Holohan said children who have symptoms of Covid-19 or who live with someone who has tested positive for the virus should not attend school.

“Children who have symptoms of Covid-19, or who live in a household where someone has received a positive or “detected” test result either on a PCR or an antigen test should not attend school.

“It is important that all of us continue to support schools, business owners, family and friends to keep to the spirit of public health advice.

"We must continue to restrict our movements to the greatest extent possible, by limiting the people we interact with from other households if we are to suppress transmission of Covid-19 and sustain our essential services,” he said.

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