Taoiseach regrets easing Covid restrictions in December

ireland
Taoiseach Regrets Easing Covid Restrictions In December
Micheál Martin said he 'worries every day in terms of the impact [of coronavirus] on hospitals'. Photo: PA
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The Taoiseach has said he regrets easing Covid-19 restrictions in the run-up to Christmas.

Micheál Martin told the Irish Mail on Sunday that, in hindsight, the Government would not have relaxed measures in the way it did.

When asked if he regretted opening the country for Christmas he said: “Yes, I do.”

The Taoiseach told the newspaper that he worries “every day in terms of the impact [of coronavirus] on hospitals”.

Health officials have said the reopening of pubs and restaurants in December was a major factor in the recent surge of infection.

Mr Martin's comments come after the first batch of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in the Republic.

The 21,600 jabs, which were transported from Belgium, will be given to healthcare workers from Monday.

The State is using the two other approved vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, to vaccinate the over-70s.

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Most over-70s will be able to get jabs at their GP surgery.

The GP practice rollout begins on Monday week, with the over-85 age group being prioritised.

New cases

A further 55 Covid-19-related deaths were confirmed on Saturday, along with another 827 new confirmed cases of the virus.

As of 10am on Sunday, 1,203 patients with Covid-19 were in hospital, 180 of whom were in intensive care units.

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Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan appealed to people who feel unwell over the weekend with Covid-19 symptoms to contact their GP immediately.

Dr Holohan said that now was not the time to adopt a “wait and see” approach.

“We know that people who feel unwell typically avoid calling their GP over the weekend, and wait to see if they improve. You should no longer do that – you must phone your GP at the first sign of anything like COVID-19 symptoms,” he said.

“Similarly, do not leave your house or go to work if you have any cold or flu like symptoms at all. Breaking these habits will limit COVID-19’s opportunity to spread from person to person.”

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