Taoiseach expects Nphet to present new Covid-19 recommendations 

Taoiseach expects Nphet to present new Covid-19 recommendations 

The Taoiseach says although cases are beginning to stabilize, the Delta variant is still rampant in society. Picture: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

The Taoiseach expects the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) to present new recommendations to the Government after they meet this evening.

The public health emergency team are to meet today to discuss the current state of Covid-19 situation and the emergence of the new Omicron variant in Ireland.

The Taoiseach says although cases are beginning to stabilize, the Delta variant is still rampant in society.

"I can't give you an insight into what the recommendations would be this afternoon," he said.

"The imminent challenges facing us are obviously, the season that we are in and also the CMO is watching the combination of the potential flu season, early in the new year, maybe towards the end of this year, and then the Omicron variant.

"So there are challenges that we have to be mindful of and obviously Nphet are meeting today they will make recommendations to the Government and we will consider recommendations.

We anticipate schools will be open of course (after Christmas) and our view is much of what we're doing now is to protect education and protect schools.

"There has been a stabilization of numbers and the ICU numbers, and in some of the older age cohorts where the booster has been rolled out, there has been a downward trajectory in some cases.

"That said the Delta wave is still at a high level of case numbers and I think the measures we announced, the call to arms where we said to the public, look at social contacts, work from home if you possibly can get vaccinated, get the booster when you're asked, it's having an impact."

The Taoiseach added that people have responded in a sensible way to the advice the Government gave over the last three weeks.

"People will watch this carefully and sensibly as well," he said.

"I think people are making decisions in relation to certain events, and decided not to attend, because we're in the middle of a global pandemic, normal life is not there yet and it's a different type of experience we've all been doing."

It is expected that health officials will discuss whether new measures for the hospitality sector are needed, ahead of the festive season.

According to the latest figures, 117 patients with Covid-19 remain in intensive care while the number of Covid patients in hospital has dropped by 31 to 547.

“For at least the next two weeks, if we can all make a concerted effort to reduce our contacts, then I am hopeful that we can make a real difference to incidence of disease in Ireland,” chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said on Wednesday.

Earlier, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly put forward legislation to permit the reintroduction of hotel quarantine if deemed necessary.

“The threat of the emergence of variants of the disease has not gone away,” Mr Donnelly told the Dáil.

“It strikes a fair and proportionate balance between the protection of public health and the common good in the situation we face on the one hand, and the restrictions of individual rights on the other.”

He said that the legislation puts the Government in a “better position to react quickly”.

Addressing a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party on Wednesday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that the situation is “stable or improving slightly”.

He said the country is doing “substantially better” than Nphet’s optimistic models for case numbers, hospital admissions and deaths.

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