Primary school children and those in childcare facilities who are close contacts of a confirmed case of Covid-19, but have no symptoms, will no longer have to restrict their movements, or get tested.
These new measures will begin from Monday next.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed the changes will be brought in following discussions with the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan and the National Public Health Emergency Team.
Children aged 12 or under will also no longer be required to restrict their movements if they are identified as a close contacts in childcare, education, or other non-household settings if they are asymptomatic, unless instructed to do so by a local public health team.
Those identified as close contacts in a household setting will be required to restrict their movements and get tested regardless of whether they have symptoms.
The department confirmed the guidance for children who display symptoms of Covid remain the same – self-isolate immediately, do not attend school or childcare facilities, and do not socialise until 48 hours after they are symptom-free.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have done our utmost to protect our school communities from the serious risks posed by Covid-19,” Mr Donnelly said.
“The latest data indicates that schools continue to be a low-risk environment for transmission of Covid-19. As such, I am happy to be in a position today to announce these significant updates to contact tracing in our school environments.”
“If you have any concerns or notice symptoms in members of your family, the public health advice remains to self-isolate and arrange a test as soon as possible. You should not attend school, or work or socialise,” he added.