Health chief happy for nightclubs to open with proof of vaccine as 2,180 new cases confirmed

Health chief happy for nightclubs to open with proof of vaccine as 2,180 new cases confirmed

The HSE's Dr Colm Henry said he would be comfortable for nightclubs to reopen provided that entry was reserved for those with proof of vaccination or have recently recovered from the Covid-19.

The Chief Clinical Officer said that thanks to a “vaccine floodwall” the country is in a better position than during previous surges.

He was speaking as some 2,180 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by the department. 

The number of people in intensive care units is 71, down two on yesterday. There are 406 people being treated for the virus, down seven.

Health officials have been warning of the increases in cases and incidence in recent weeks, with the Deputy Chief Medical officer warning that there have been almost 20,000 cases in the last fortnight.

Dr Henry, speaking to Brendan O’Connor on RTÉ Radio 1 praised the vaccine uptake but he urged people to continue to follow basic public health measures.

He warned that the virus has not gone away and that there had been a sense of “drift” from basic measures. Dr Henry also warned that the country is "heading into a difficult winter".

He said that the vaccination programme gives the country options that were not there in previous surges. 

Speaking about the cases going up, Dr Henry said that if the country was seeing corresponding levels of hospitalisation the health service would be overrun, and it was only due to the vaccine programme that it wasn't.

The vast majority of restrictions are due to be eased on October 22 and Dr Henry said that a final decision is one for the Government to make. 

Under the current Government plan, requirements for physical distancing, mask wearing outdoors and in indoor private settings will be lifted and “high-risk activities” such as nightclubs will be allowed to reopen.

Dr Henry, speaking to Brendan O’Connor on RTÉ Radio 1 praised the vaccine uptake but he urged people to continue to follow basic public health measures.
Dr Henry, speaking to Brendan O’Connor on RTÉ Radio 1 praised the vaccine uptake but he urged people to continue to follow basic public health measures.

The digital vaccine cert required for indoor access in hospitality is also due to be removed on October 22.

In the last week, the Taoiseach warned that further reopening of society next Friday cannot be guaranteed.

Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, echoed the calls of Dr Henry with regard to proof of vaccination.

“On October 22 vaccine certs were due to no longer be required. Perhaps if they were to stay a little longer, that might provide a help."

He added that the decision on reopen was not a “binary 'yes or no’”.

“I think we should challenge ourselves to look at it in a more nuanced way, to see if there are safe ways of opening up as intended to on October 22, and I know my colleagues in Government will be giving that a lot of consideration in the next few days.”

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