Holohan: Easing of restrictions a 'welcome and deserved turning point'

Holohan: Easing of restrictions a 'welcome and deserved turning point'

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The chief medical officer says the easing of restrictions is a "welcome and deserved turning point" in Ireland's effort to get through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) briefing, Dr Tony Holohan said it was a step closer towards "the shared national goal of suppressing Covid-19."

However, Dr Holohan warned that incidence around the country vary and some areas are in "a more precarious position" than others.

He said: "For example, while the national incidence rate is 125 per 100,000, Donegal currently stands at 295 per 100,000.

"This is extremely concerning for public health doctors locally."

Dr Holohan's comments come as four further Covid-19-related deaths are recorded in Ireland by Nphet.

Another 545 cases of the virus were also confirmed by Nphet in the last 24-hour reporting period.

The latest figures from the Department of Health brings the total number of cases to 248,870 and the total death toll to 4,903.

As of Friday morning, 139 coronavirus patients were in hospital, of whom 44 were in ICU.

There were eight additional hospital admissions in the previous 24 hours.

The chief medical officer says the easing of restrictions is a "welcome and deserved turning point" in Ireland's effort to get through the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
The chief medical officer says the easing of restrictions is a "welcome and deserved turning point" in Ireland's effort to get through the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Dr Holohan added: "It is important that we look forward now and work together to reduce incidence nationally, but also in our own locality. 

"Your individual actions for the good of your neighbours and community do matter, and they will make all the difference.”

As of April 28, a total of 1,487,043 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland. Some 1,067,378 people have received their first dose, while 419,665 people have received two doses.

The five-day moving average of cases now stands at 450, while the 14-day incidence of the virus per 100,000 population is now at 127.3.

Donegal has the highest county incidence rate, followed by Kildare.

Of the new cases, 264 are in Dublin, 58 in Kildare, 50 in Cork, 29 in Donegal, 28 in Galway and the remaining 116 cases are spread across 21 other counties.

Of the cases notified today, 294 are men and 244 are women. 77% are under 45 years of age, and the median age is 29-years-old.

Deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn says Ireland has achieved a huge amount but the coronavirus still poses a threat.

He said: "It is important to stay vigilant and not to drop your guard over the coming weeks.

"This is especially true for those who have yet to be vaccinated or are particularly vulnerable."

He added: "The important thing to do as society reopens is to continue to risk assess your choices and your environment.

"Just because something is an option, doesn’t always mean it’s safe."

The Taoiseach has indicated that foreign travel and indoor hospitality will be possible by the end of the summer.

Speaking to Pat Kenny on Newstalk, Micheál Martin said that vaccination across Europe made the prospect of foreign travel possible.

“So it’s possible in July, August, that travel will be possible, given the fact that vaccination would have happened all over Europe.” He said that Ireland will be "full participants in the EU Green Passport scheme which is being drawn up currently and earlier told RTÉ that Ireland "could not disconnect itself forever".

On indoor hospitality, he said that while it constitutes what NPHET would call a "high-risk activity", he hoped it would be possible in July.

Pfizer/BioNTech will seek approval from the European Medicines Agency to approve their Covid vaccine for use on 12-15-year-olds.
Pfizer/BioNTech will seek approval from the European Medicines Agency to approve their Covid vaccine for use on 12-15-year-olds.

Meanwhile, Pfizer/BioNTech will seek approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to approve their Covid vaccine for use on 12-15-year-olds.

In a statement on Friday, the two companies said their submission to the EMA was based on an advanced study in more than 2,000 adolescents that showed the vaccine to be safe and effective.

The children will continue to be monitored for longer-term protection and safety for another two years.

The move could offer younger and less at-risk populations in Europe access to the jabs for the first time.

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