Martin says country should take heart from declining Covid-19 rate as 1,703 new cases confirmed

Martin says country should take heart from declining Covid-19 rate as 1,703 new cases confirmed

People queue outside the Citywest Covid-19 vaccination centre in Dublin (Damien Storan/PA)

Ireland should “take some heart” from early indications that rates of Covid-19 in Ireland may be declining, the Taoiseach has said as a further 1,703 cases were confirmed on Saturday.

While incidence rates of the virus in Ireland are among the highest in the EU, health officials and politicians have consistently pointed to the success of Ireland’s vaccination programme.

As of 8am this morning, 363 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in Irish hospitals, of which 52 are in intensive care units.

Speaking in Cork on Saturday at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the Irish naval service, Micheál Martin said: “We take some heart from indications that incidence levels may be on a downward trajectory.”

He also said the Government would be monitoring any impact the return of schools has on the spread of the virus.

“It is extremely important that we remain vigilant as a society and we can progress in terms of the steps that have now been laid out.”

Earlier this week, the Government announced a major, phased easing of restrictions, with the hope that the vast majority of remaining regulations can be lifted on October 22.

Mr Martin also indicated that the country had already seen an “economic rebound” from the reopening of society.

As part of the easing of restrictions, numbers permitted to attend outdoor sports events will increase from September 6.

From September 6, restrictions on indoor venues will be eased, with larger crowds permitted.

Indoor venues will be able to use up to 60% of capacity when holding events for people who are double jabbed.

For outdoor events, 75% of capacity will be available for vaccinated people.

Live music at weddings and pubs is also set to return from Monday.

Nearly 90% of adults in Ireland are vaccinated, according to the latest figures.

On Friday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar tweeted: “Vaccination of under 35s really working now. Cases have plateaued / falling.”

“Rise in patients in hospital and ICU slowing. All ok for next stage of re-opening on Monday.”

On Friday, 1,414 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported by the Department of Health.

As of 8am on Friday, there were 353 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 55 people in intensive care.

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