The World Health Organisation’s special convoy on Covid-19, Dr David Nabarro has cautioned that restrictions on hospitality should not be eased because the sector is facing difficulty. Any decisions should be made on the basis of the health risk.
Speaking on the Today with Claire Byrne show, Dr Nabarro said that restrictions needed to be “constantly assessed” and the data reviewed.
He also warned that the Government should not say that there is “never” going to be a return to restrictions when they were eventually eased.
According to Dr Nabarro, if a cluster ever built up or there was a surge in cases then the Government should be ready to move swiftly.
He said Ireland should “stick with what you’re doing” as the measures to date have shown that the country was working well with the “trade-offs” made to date.
Dr Nabarro also urged that restrictions not be eased too quickly. The balance of risk would need to be weighed and hospital and ICU numbers monitored.
While he acknowledged that another variant could develop, he thought it is unlikely to be more deadly, but it could be more transmissible.
It was too early to say if a fourth dose of the vaccine would be necessary, he said.
Dr Nabarro also cautioned all governments and health services to ensure there would be capacity to cope with “any nasty surge”, it would be wise to plan for all eventualities and be prepared to implement some local restrictions if there was a surge in a specific geographic area.
Earlier on Morning Ireland, Professor of Immunology at Maynooth University, Paul Moynagh, said it looked like the Omicron wave had peaked, but it was “difficult to be completely sure”.
Looking at numbers over the last few days it “certainly seems they've peaked” and were now decreasing.
“If you look at these waves they tend to be symmetrical, we don't really know why,” Professor Moynagh said.
“So with Omicron, the incline was very, very steep, so we probably expect the decline to be something similar and reflect that steep incline.”
When asked if it was time to start the gradual lifting of restrictions, Prof Moynagh said he thought it “probably” was.