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Further Covid restrictions cannot be ruled out – chief medical officer

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Further coronavirus restrictions in Ireland cannot be ruled out in the future, the chief medical officer is expected to warn an Oireachtas committee.

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Dr Tony Holohan will tell TDs and Senators at the Joint Committee on Wednesday that the epidemiological situation “indicates a high incidence with an uncertain trajectory”.

There has been a drop in cases among those aged 19-24 and 13-18 years in recent weeks, but there has been a rise among those in the five to 12 age group, and an increase in outbreaks in settings with vulnerable populations, such as nursing homes.

Dr Holohan is to describe the Covid-19 vaccine programme as very effective, but will caution that the Delta variant will continue to circulate extensively over the coming months, particularly among individuals who have not yet been vaccinated or those who have not been sufficiently protected through vaccination.

He is to say in this context it is “unlikely that vaccination alone will bring the effective reproduction number below 1 such that we will achieve suppression of the disease”.

Dr Holohan is expected to say that the trajectory of the virus cannot be predicted with certainty and therefore we “cannot fully rule out the possibility that the reintroduction of measures may be required in the future”.

A further 1,181 cases of Covid-19 were notified in Ireland on Tuesday.

As of 8am, there were 309 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 60 were in ICU.

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