As the end of the school year coincided with the decline of the infectious disease, there is no point in talking about the full opening of schools at the moment, Martin Kadai, Head of the Emergency Medicine Department of the Health Board said on Friday.
ERR asked Kadai how sensible it is to continue distance learning in most schools until the end of the school year in a situation where restrictions are eased, where shopping malls and museums are opened and where people sit together on public transport on a daily basis.
Kedai said: "Two things need to be distinguished: one is the organization of school teaching and the other is the aspect of infection safety. Would it make sense to open schools and, if so, to whom? In epidemiological terms, it is inevitable that the wave of the disease will last until the end of the school year. If we were in the middle of the school year now, we would be discussing opening schools. Since the school holidays are coming up, it doesn't make sense to do so, because the end of school and the decline of the infectious disease coincided."
All schools and universities closed at the beginning of the emergency situation in mid-March and moved online.
The pandemic could last for another two years
Kedai also said he did not want to cause fear or panic but as the disease is widespread and it has spread across species, it is unlikely that the disease will be eradicated from the world.
"How it spreads, no one can answer exactly. We can make hypotheses and make predictions, but they may not be very accurate. A pandemic can last for the next two years or more. We can see waves of disease that are very likely and common in disease dynamics," Kadai explained.
He also said in the absence of a drug and a vaccine, the only method is to treat the symptoms, to identify the patients and not to allow the disease to spread uncontrollably.
"We must also keep in mind that most populations do not have herd immunity. We also do not know how long immunity to the disease lasts. In conclusion, I can say the aim of the Health Board is not to set restrictions, we set them as little as possible and as much as necessary. Societies need to adapt to this new disease and adopt new patterns of behavior, the most important of which is to stay at home when sick," he said.
Editor: Helen Wright