Taoiseach Micheál Martin has highlighted the importance of children’s outdoor activities and sports continuing despite the current high Covid-19 levels and said that Government has gotten “no specific advice” from Nphet on the issue.
His remarks come after the deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said on Wednesday that parents should consider whether their children need to engage in playdates and sport, given the high levels of the virus.
Mr Martin was asked if he agreed with Mr Glynn’s suggestion that parents should limit the activities of their children.
He said he didn’t hear the National Public Health Emergency Team’s (Nphet) press conference but that the consistent message from the advisory body has been “towards all of us generally just reigning it in a bit, watching our behaviour in respect of the wearing of masks, general socialisation.
“We didn’t get any specific advice in relation specific sectors, rather a more general advice basically, that we need to adhere as a people to the very basic guidelines.
“And if we all did that cumulatively it would have a very beneficial effect.”
‘Dangers of next phase’
At a press conference on Thursday it was put to Mr Martin that it appeared contradictory that Mr Glynn was advising parents to reconsider some extra curricular activity while it’s considered appropriate to spend sustained time indoors in classrooms.
Mr Martin said: “We have received no advice from Nphet in terms of children not doing outdoor sport or being engaged in outdoor activities.
“And I think one of the dangers of the next phase is because of the nature of our weather that you’re going to get far more indoor activity and living conditions which can be a factor in the spread of the disease.
“I think the more outdoor activities we can continue with the healthier and the better.”
He added: “I would be concerned also about the mental wellbeing of children. That’s very, very important.”
Mr Martin said mental health organisations have “always articulated to us a concern around anxiety levels among adolescents and teenagers and the need to always be conscious of the impact of Covid and mor