Visits to other households to watch sports matches or for a cup of tea, rather than parties, were responsible for increasing Covid-19 cases among younger people, chief executive of the Health Service Executive (HSE) has said.
Speaking on Monday, HSE chief Paul Reid said progress tackling Covid-19 had become “stuck,” despite several weeks of strict lockdown measures.
“We are seeing growing cases now in younger people, from all the evidence we have it’s not house parties,” he said.
People were visiting other households “to see football games, Superbowl, a Premiership match, even people moving between homes for a cup of tea, just having that quick catch up,” he said.
Mr Reid said those types of visits between households were “the real risk factor”, given current transmission levels.
The emergence of new variants of Covid-19 in the country, such as the Brazilian strain identified in recent days, was a cause for concern, he told Newstalk Breakfast.
The Republic was on course to be able to vaccinate 1 million people a month from April onwards, if supplies ordered arrived on time, he said.
It was projected that 1.24 million people would be vaccinated in the first quarter of the year, followed by 3.8 million people between April and June, he said.
Senior Ministers will meet on Monday to finalise a revised Living with Covid-19 Plan ahead of a full Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
The National Public Health Emergency Team has advised the current restrictions should be extended beyond the current cut-off date of March 5th, with the opening of schools and childcare happening on a “cautious and phased basis”.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has said the introduction of mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals into the country will be ready in “three to four weeks”.
Ms McEntee said legislation for the measure needed to pass through the Dáil and Seanad, which she hoped would take place in the next two weeks.
The Government would “give as much clarity as possible” on the new Living with Covid-19 plan on Tuesday, she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.