Eamon Ryan says he followed health guidelines at all times on Covid test results

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The Environment Minister said he was following health guidelines at all times after receiving different results in two tests for Covid.

Eamon Ryan added that he was aware of the perception that different rules applied to ministers after attending the Cop26 climate change conference in Glasgow on Monday.

On Saturday the leader of the Green Party announced he had canceled his visit to Glasgow after testing positive for the coronavirus, but on Sunday he said a second test gave a negative result and said he would do the trip.

Speaking to media in Glasgow, Mr Ryan said he passed the first test on Friday.

He added: “It was pretty standard. On Saturday I got the text saying you’re positive. I went home and followed all the protocols.

“The main thing I had to work on was my contact tracing. I contacted the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste.

“After that, the HSE contacted my private secretary. The details of the first test weren’t conclusive, even under these circumstances you get a positive reading.

“It’s standard to have a second test, especially in circumstances where you weren’t symptomatic and were only getting the test as part of a routine trip.

“So I did a test that night and the next morning it came back negative.

“I followed the medical advice to the end. I didn’t have to isolate myself. If I had ignored this advice, I would have been against the health advice. The health advice was to go about your business as usual. That’s what I did.

When asked if he was aware of the perception that there was one rule for government figures and another for others, he replied, “I am very aware of this. But the only thing I could do was follow the health advice, follow the protocols, do what the HSE told me.

“I kept in touch with the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste and followed the protocols. So I said why shouldn’t I travel? I would not take the advice of the HSE.

Earlier, the HSE said repeated PCR testing could be recommended on a positive result “in certain cases” following confusion in the public over Mr Ryan’s Covid status.

A spokeswoman for the HSE said Monday: “In some cases, when clinically indicated, repeat testing may be recommended for an individual.” She said this was “generally based” on a discussion between the testing lab and the person requesting the test.

She said this “takes into account a number of factors, such as the lab result itself, including any viral targets detected, etc., the reason for the test and the condition of the person doing the test. “she said.

The spokesperson said a repeat test can be scheduled through the HSE Testing and Trace program, with a review of the results informing that person’s advice.

However, these tips do not appear to be on the HSE website for the general public. This advises people with a positive result to self-isolate and begin the process of finding contracts.

According to the website, only people whose result was “undetermined, invalid or inhibitory result” are asked to take a second test to confirm their infection status.

Meanwhile, Mr Ryan said he believed the Cop26 conference was about creating ‘momentum for action’.

He said: “John Kerry (the US climate envoy) said today that it was the week that decided the decade – I thought it was good.

“I feel like last week has gone relatively well, in terms of part of the methane pledge and the deforestation pledge.

“I think this cop is about creating momentum for action and creating transparency and urgency for action.”

Mr Ryan said Ireland will commit € 10 million next year to the International Adaptation Fund.


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