Tony Holohan urged Government not to provide subsidised antigen tests – report
The CMO has warned that the tests may provide the public with a false sense of security and lead to more cases, not less.
Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has urged the Government not to provide subsidised antigen tests, warning that such a measure could lead to a significant increase in Covid-19 cases.
According to the Irish Times, Holohan wrote a letter to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly earlier this week, arguing that members of the public could use the tests incorrectly, thus leading to more cases instead of fewer.
The CMO has previously insisted that anyone displaying Covid-like symptoms should prioritise a PCR test over an antigen test.
"There's still two weeks between now and the beginning of December, so a minimum of 200,000 cases occurring in December, all of which are preventable. Each one of us can take simple measures," he said on Wednesday.
"People who are cases and who are symptomatic, they simply must self-isolate and then get a PCR test. Not an antigen test."
It is understood that Government officials will discard Holohan's argument in favour of proceeding with the subsidisation plan next week.
Stephen Donnelly is set to outline the details at Cabinet, with a universal subsidy likely to be applied for antigen tests, given that they retail at different costs.
Free antigen tests for use in schools are also expected to get the green light.
On Saturday, the Department of Health reported 5,959 new cases of Covid-19 throughout Ireland, according to new figures released on Saturday, 20 November.
As of Saturday morning, 640 patients are in hospital in relation to the virus.
Of those, 121 are in ICU.
HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry has called on the public to wear masks in congregated outdoor settings, such as sporting events.
Henry made the comments on Today with Claire Byrne, where he was quizzed on what people should be doing to help combat the latest Covid-19 wave.
"At a general level, we're asking people to reduce their total number of contacts, not to eliminate them altogether," he explained.
"Just because the current rules allow us to go to nightclubs, to pubs, to restaurants, to bars, to mix - it doesn't mean all of us have to do it all the time, every night of the week.
"We're asking people to look forward a week from now, look at the total number of contacts you have and see if you can reduce them by up to half."
Henry was then asked if he was comfortable with major events, such as the rugby match in the Aviva Stadium between Ireland and Argentina on Sunday, going ahead.
"What we're asking people to do is resource those basic measures at an individual level... reduce the total number of contacts, wear the masks," he replied.
"Just because it's not mandatory at a certain setting, doesn't mean you don't have to do it."
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