"Government Failure to Make a Decision on Antigen Testing is Hammering Pubs, Restaurants, Tourism and Aviation " - Tóibín
The Aontú leader, Peadar Tóibín has called on the government to actually make a decision to solve the stalemate which exists within the National Public Health Emergency Team regarding rapid antigen testing.
Deputy Tóibín said:
"It is absolutely scandalous that the government have abdicated their responsibility to govern. Hundreds of thousands of people are still unemployed, thousands of businesses are still closed. Bars, restaurants, tourism and aviation are being hammered due to the lack of a government decision on this key issue”.
“This week the CMO Dr Tony Holohan cautioned against antigen testing arguing that if it were rolled out it would give people a 'green light' to engage in risky behavior. This comment was most bizarre and unscientific. The new narrative represents a major shift - originally NPHET representatives were taking to twitter to discredit antigen testing as akin to 'snake oil'. Now it seems they're conceding that antigen testing has grounding in science, but the 'message it sends' is the problem. NPHET's job should be to study science and medical facts, and it should be up to the government then to examine the science and facts and give greater consideration to the practicalities of public health measures and the natural human psychological tendencies of the population".
Deputy Tóibín continued; "If NPHET wish to maintain that their job is not merely scientific but rather that it extends to examining everything and interpreting the 'messages' that certain decisions might send out then they must also explain why they haven't examined all aspects of the pandemic - they've haven't commissioned studies on the incidents of delayed cancer diagnosis or mental health impacts of their decisions. They cannot have it both ways. Their opposition to antigen testing is making an international embarrassment out of us. In Slovakia a case study found that the incidence of Covid-19 fell by nearly 60% when rapid antigen testing was rolled out. NPHET keep questioning the accuracy of testing, suggesting it is only 50% accurate and yet studies have shown that antigen tests detect 90-95% of Covid cases where a person is infectious. NPHET are also talking about 'false positives' quite a lot - but what possible risk can false positives pose? Its time the government stepped in and overruled NPHET on this issue, industries, the aviation sector, the tourism sector, jobs and lives are depending on ", concluded Tóibín.