Covid vaccine giving healthcare staff ‘second wind’ as transmission reduces

ireland
Man given coronavirus vaccine, © PA Wire/PA Images
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Cate McCurry, PA

The “great signs” of the Covid-19 vaccine starting to reduce transmission is giving healthcare staff a second wind, the HSE chief executive has said.

Paul Reid said while the country is winning in its battle in reducing the spread of the virus, he warned it is “not over yet”.

The number of people admitted to hospital with the virus has been reducing in recent weeks but health experts are concerned that infection rates are not dropping at a faster rate.

Mr Reid tweeted on Saturday: “Continued improvement today in those hospitalised, 550, and in ICU, 135, with Covid-19.

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“Our healthcare teams are exhausted.

“But getting their vaccination and the great signs of it reducing transmission is giving us all a second wind.

“We are winning, it’s just not over yet.”

On Friday night, the Government added 13 more countries to its list in which travellers arriving from the locations have to undergo mandatory isolation for 14 days.

A woman walks past a mental health-related mural in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA)

The countries have all been flagged to be at high risk of Covid-19 infection.

They include Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The Government is to introduce mandatory quarantine at designated facilities in the coming weeks.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly brought legislation to the Dáil earlier this week to bring in mandatory quarantine.

“Once the Bill has passed through all stages in the Oireachtas, it will be referred to the President for his consideration,” Mr Donnelly added.

“Subject to the Bill becoming law, it is the Government’s intention to commence the operation of mandatory quarantine facilities as soon as possible.”

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A National Oversight Group for Variants of Concern (VOC) has been set up to monitor and advise about the challenges posed new strains of the virus.

On Friday, a further 29 people who had tested positive for Covid-19 died, while another 776 confirmed cases were also announced.

As of February 23rd, 373,280 doses of the vaccine had been administered in the State, including 238,841 first doses and 134,439 second doses.

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