Video: Omicron surge among young people, business supports, State to sell AIB shares

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Omicron surge among young people

The first signs of the impact of the Omicron variant have emerged with infection rising rapidly among younger people in the last week, one of the State’s top public health officials has said.

Prof Philip Nolan, who chairs the epidemiological modelling group advising the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), said figures from the past seven days – and more specifically the weekend – were the “first real sign of the impact of Omicron”.

As The Irish Times reports, incidence in those aged 19-34 has increased by between 50 and 70 per cent in the course of the last seven days, “increasing sharply over the weekend [while] test positivity in this age group exceeds 20 per cent”, according to Professor Nolan.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the Government will not take the risk of “letting Omicron rip” due to a lack of data on the new Covid variant.

Cabinet to agree on business supports

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A host of business supports aimed at assisting companies hit by last Friday's restriction announcement will be agreed by the Government today.

As the Irish Examiner reports, changes to the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) and Business Resumption Support Scheme (BRSS) are expected, aimed at bringing more hospitality businesses into the net of qualifying for support.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar indicated on Friday during the announcement of the latest restrictions on hospitality that the schemes would likely be the same as during the summer when outdoor dining only was permitted.

It is understood that affected businesses could claim up to €5,000 a week under the CRSS scheme.

State to sell AIB shares

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has revealed a plan to sell part of the State’s 71.1 per cent stake in AIB on the stock market over the next six months.

As reported in The Irish Times, Mr Donohoe's effort to speed up the recovery of AIB’s crisis-era bailout bill comes as taxpayers have only recouped €10.8 billion of the bank’s €20.8 billion rescue bill.

According to the Department of Finance, the Minister has hired Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch International unit to carry out “a measured and orderly sell down of shares” in AIB over an initial six-month period. This is due to start from the middle of January.

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