Video: Government and Nphet discussing latest Omicron data, booster expansion

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Omicron latest

The Coalition leaders will meet with the National Public Health Emeregency Team (Nphet) this evening to discuss the latest data surrounding the Omicron variant of Covid-19, which now makes up 11 per cent of all cases in Ireland.

Meanwhile, public health chiefs have warned people to “prepare for the worst and hope for the best” as the country enters a “critical” stage, in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year, in the battle to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Department of Public Health Midwest today issued a warning that despite daily case numbers “stabilising”, it expected “an increase in cases over the coming weeks linked to Christmas celebrations”.

The department urged people to reduce their contacts to help “limit this risk and the extra pressure on the health service”.

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Specialist in public health medicine, Dr Marie Casey, said: “We want people to enjoy this festive season, but the current reality is that Covid-19 is widespread in the community, and for every social encounter we have, we increase our risk."

A drive in transmission of the Omicron variant will “fill up the hospitals and the ICUs”, a global health leader has warned.

Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of World Health Organisation (WHO) health emergencies programme, said even if Omicron turns out to be a milder disease, the rising number of cases will lead to more people in hospital.

Dr Ryan told an Irish Aid webinar, hosted by the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), that he is concerned about unvaccinated people in every country.

Cabinet signs off on €100 electricity scheme

Cabinet has signed off on a scheme that will see €100 knocked off households electric bill.

The €210 million plan aims to help people struggling with the rising cost of energy bills.

The scheme will see householders get €100 credit, operated by ESB Networks.

Approximately 2.1 million domestic electricity account holders will benefit from the scheme for a one-off payment to their electricity accounts.

Defence Forces will be deployed across Ireland to ramp up booster jabs

More members of the Defence Forces will be drafted in to help ramp up the number of booster jabs a day, the Taoiseach has said.

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The Government is under pressure to rapidly accelerate the vaccine programme as concerns over the effects of the Omicron variant escalate.

The Defence Forces will be deployed across the country in a bid to increase the number of daily booster jabs.

The HSE also has plans to redeploy staff, increase the number of pop-up vaccine centres and extending opening hours to help increase the number of booster vaccines.

Pat Kenny confronted by unvaccinated healthcare worker in park

Pat Kenny has been praised for his calm reaction after he was confronted by an unvaccinated healthcare worker while walking in a park.

The man, who identified himself as an unvaccinated healthcare worker, accused the Newstalk presenter of saying he should lose his job.

Mr Kenny explained that what he actually said was unvaccinated healthcare workers should be redeployed to non-patient facing roles.

In the video, which the man posted on TikTok, he said: "You called me crazy on the national radio. I work for the health service and I haven't been vaccinated."

"Why not?" the presenter replied.

When the man said it was his choice, Kenny said: "That is your prerogative. I am saying you shouldn't be near patients."

The man replied: "Why shouldn't I be. It is being spread all the time by vaccinated people. I have a five-year-old daughter you are calling crazy. Sorry, you called her a snowflake."

Kenny replied: "The parents of those kids who say they can't wear a mask when kids in every country in the world are wearing masks. Little kids in Bermuda where my sister-in-law is at the age of two are running around the place [with masks on]... there is not a bother on them."

The two-minute exchange quickly went viral.

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