Covid vaccine taskforce to meet on final day of Level 5 restrictions

Covid vaccine taskforce to meet on final day of Level 5 restrictions

A healthcare worker administers a shot vaccination to a patient. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg Stock Generic

The Covid-19 vaccine taskforce will meet later as the country enters the final day of Level 5 restrictions.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said he expects vaccines to be rolled out here in the New Year, with healthcare workers and those with vulnerable conditions expected to be treated first.

It comes amid increased calls for pop-up testing to deal with localised outbreaks of the virus.

Professor Sam McConkey from the RCSI told Newstalk, once restaurants open again, the settings could allow the disease to spread.

He said: "There was one case in Germany in March, in a lady who touched a salt seller, and another person came into the restaurant after the lady left...and caught it from the salt seller.

"Even touching objects a few minutes or hours later can lead to transmission of this virus.

Prof McConkey added: "I think we need to be doing deep cleans of all the places people have been with Covid, and we need to be expanding our circles of testing to contacts who are less close."

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has warned that cases of Covid-19 will increase in the coming weeks and has urged the public to do their bit to avoid a dramatic spike.

However, he said the Government will be watching the figures closely and taking advice from the chief medical officer Tony Holohan in the coming weeks.

"Everybody is expecting that in the next number of weeks we're going to see an increase in the numbers, but the challenge is to keep that increase as low as possible."

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