Thursday, 29 April 2021
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
I am not familiar with the rapid one-hour PCR test but I will certainly check it out and follow up on it. It is not a secret that there are differences of opinion with regard to lateral flow rapid antigen testing and rapid antigen testing in general. In the main, public health doctors are not enthusiastic about it but scientists generally are. That has been an issue all along. The report published by Professor Ferguson, the chief scientific adviser, has been endorsed by Government. We are now seeing a lot of antigen testing in many workplaces around Ireland and in outbreak scenarios. It is also being piloted in schools and colleges. We will see more of that in the coming months. The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Deputy Harris, is working on a plan to get our college campuses back open in September and October. The students and the staff will be vaccinated by then and antigen testing may help to enable them to have a more normal on-campus experience in September and October, which is what we all want. My Department is taking the lead in respect of antigen testing in the workplace. We are currently updating the workplace safety protocols relating to Covid. These will include a section on antigen testing.