Nine further Covid-19 deaths confirmed as antigen test 'snake oil' comments criticised 

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly criticised public health expert Professor Philip Nolan for comparing antigen tests to snake oil
Nine further Covid-19 deaths confirmed as antigen test 'snake oil' comments criticised 

One of the Boson Biotech Covid-19 antigen tests which have gone on sale in Lidl. Picture:: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

A further nine deaths related to Covid-19 have been confirmed as comments by a Nphet member on antigen tests were criticised.

The Department of Health has also confirmed a further 379 cases of the virus in Ireland.

The death toll from the virus is now 4,929, while there has been a total of 253,567 cases here.

Some 71 of today's cases are in Dublin, with 27 in Donegal, 28 in Kildare, 24 in Limerick and 22 in Cork. The remaining 107 cases are spread across 18 other counties.

Of today's cases:

  • 190 are men / 185 are women 
  • 77% are under 45 years of age 
  • The median age is 29 years old

The Chief Medical Officer said in a statement that this week is a “hopeful” one and urged people to have confidence in the vaccine.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Dr Tony Holohan said: “We need to continue to focus on the measures that we know can protect ourselves and our loved ones from Covid-19 - we can plan to meet friends and family where it is safe to do so and those who have been vaccinated can have confidence in their vaccine.

“They are now able to get out and about and enjoy the benefits of the vaccine.” 

Dr Holohan said that the “two primary targets as we try to exit the pandemic” are vaccination and low transmission.

If we can keep cases low and continue to vaccinate as many people as possible, we will find ourselves in a very different risk environment where we can see further easing of measures.

“Our task now is to keep the disease under control by following the basic measures and taking up our vaccine when it is offered to us.”

Earlier, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly criticised public health expert Professor Philip Nolan for comparing antigen tests to snake oil.

Mr Donnelly described the comment by Nphet’s modelling expert as “unhelpful” and said such testing is “one of the tools” that can be used in the fight against Covid-19.

Lidl began selling antigen tests last week. 

In a tweet on Saturday Prof Nolan referenced Lidl’s antigen tests, saying: “Can I get some snake oil with that?” He added: “Stay safe when socialising outdoors over the next few weeks. Small numbers, distance, masks. These antigen tests will not keep you safe.” 

Mr Donnelly said there are “strongly held views” by credible people on both sides of the issue.

“I don’t think it was a helpful comment, if I’m honest,” he said. “It is government policy.

“I have great respect for Professor Nolan and I have no doubt that his concern was around people using them in the wrong way.

Meanwhile, the country hit a significant vaccine milestone on Tuesday.

More than half a million people are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

As of Sunday, May 9, some 1,347,561 people have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

501,186 have got their second jab. In total, 1,848,747 people have received the vaccine.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.