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.
Speaking today, Leo Varadkar said: “We will see a surge in cases, there will be a significant increase in hospitalisations, ICU admissions and sadly there will be deaths.
“But the question is, will it be so much that overwhelms our healthcare system? The evidence from Israel, from Scotland, is that will not be the case.”
It comes as this evening the Department of Health have confirmed 994 new cases of Covid-19.
They said that as of today 80 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised and 22 are in ICU.
Leo Varadkar warned that the number of Delta variant cases are surging.
— Fine Gael (@FineGael) July 15, 2021
He said it is in our hands and a lot will depend on how we behave and “what we do as a society over the next few weeks.”
He added: “95 per cent of cases are happening to people who are not fully vaccinated. People who are not fully vaccinated have never been at greater risk of getting this virus.
“We expected that to happen, I don’t think we expect that to happen quite as soon as it has.
“The models would have indicated that this would have happened a bit later. But I think there are reasons for real concern and cautiousness."
He said the pandemic is not over, but we are entering a new phase.
Regarding the reopening of indoor dining, Varadkar said the “target” is Monday, July 26th. He spoke to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly about the reopening plans earlier today.
“We’re getting things in place. It looks like we’re going to have an app reader that restauranteurs and publicans can use to verify that the Covid cert is valid and so on,” he said.
Meanwhile, the chief medical officer had more positive news this evening about the vaccine rollout.
He said: “More than 70 per cent of the adult population have had at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and almost 60 per cent of adults are now fully vaccinated against the virus.
“This is of course good news and a great cause for hope, however, there is still a significant cohort of the population who are not yet fully vaccinated, or as is the case with children, for whom vaccination is still a little way off and subject to future guidance."
He said he knows it is a difficult message for people to hear, particularly parents of unvaccinated children, but “if we stick with the public health measures, we can limit transmission of this disease and protect others,” he added.