Nphet member: Delta variant peak three or four weeks away

Ireland is three or four weeks out from the peak of a fourth coronavirus wave driven by the Delta variant, according to a member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

Dr Mary Favier, also the Covid-19 adviser for the Irish College of General Practitioners, said there are concerns around younger people and those who have chosen not to receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

With daily case numbers nearing 1,000 yesterday, Nphet has indicated they will continue to grow exponentially unless public behaviour changes.

The number of patients hospitalised with the disease has increased by almost a third in the past week, with 79 people currently on wards with the virus — down one from yesterday, but remaining 57 per cent higher than last Friday.

We’ve got two, three, four weeks to really try and stay ahead of this

Dr Favier said there is a race against time to get as many people as possible fully vaccinated.

“We’ve got two, three, four weeks to really try and stay ahead of this,” she told Newstalk radio.

“For general practitioners, what we’re really concerned about is we’re so busy with non-Covid things, the idea that a surge would come and would displace activity [is worrying].

“But even patients are saying to us, they’re starting to look forward four or five, six weeks to schools going back, to colleges going back, you know, [they’re] anxious that that won’t happen.”

Vaccine appointments from Monday

As the vaccine registration portal is now open for those aged 25 to 29 for an mRNA jab, the HSE’s national lead on the vaccination programme said appointments will be offered as soon as Monday.

“Registration opens today,” the HSE’s Damien McCallion told Newstalk radio.

“The administration of vaccines will commence almost immediately within a number of days for some people, and over the three-week window, we would hope that the majority of people will either be vaccinated or have appointments.

“It can occasionally spill over into the fourth week, but appointments start effectively from Monday.”


Ban on intercounty travel now needed to contain Co…

It comes as another vaccine milestone is reached today, with a total five million doses administered. More than 70 per cent of the adult population have had at least one dose of a vaccine and almost 60 per cent of adults are now fully vaccinated.

After 994 new cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday evening, a professor has warned that a ban on intercounty travel is now needed to contain a fourth surge of the disease.

The Tánaiste has said it is “not yet possible” to rule out bringing in further restrictions as cases continue to rise due to the Delta variant.

Leo Varadkar said people who are not fully vaccinated are the “new vulnerable” and should live the coming weeks “like it is March 2020” when a two-kilometre travel limit was imposed.

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