Video: Ireland wins Olympic gold, Covid optimism amid high vaccine uptake

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Gold for Ireland

Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan ended Ireland’s Olympic gold drought after a thrilling lightweight double sculls victory.

There were celebrations overnight in Cork after the Skibbereen pair landed Ireland’s first ever Olympic gold in rowing.

But 27-year-old O’Donovan admitted the achievement may not be enough to earn the plaudits when he returns home to see his mother.

“I’ve been ignoring her all the while so she’s going to be fairly annoyed, when I get home I’ll get a back of the hand across the face I’d say,” he told RTÉ.

Optimistic outlook

Public health experts said there will be “peaks and troughs” of Covid-19 cases over the next few months, but they do not expect to track “huge waves” due to the Irish public's caution.

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There was a note of optimism at the latest briefing from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) due to the strong progress in the vaccine programme.

A further 1,408 cases of the disease were confirmed yesterday, with nine deaths confirmed over the last week. There are 152 patients in hospital with Covid-19, with 26 in intensive care.

Professor Philip Nolan, who models the spread of the disease for the Nphet, said he does not expect to see a single peak in this fourth wave of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, one immunologist has claimed that Ireland is getting “very close” to the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

High vaccine uptake

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said that Ireland has one of the highest rates of vaccine uptake in the world.

He said Ireland could be “weeks away” from lifting further restrictions on society.

“That gives us a lot of reasons for optimism that the conditions that we think will need to be satisfied to allow us to move away from some of the restrictions that still remain in place can be met,” Dr Holohan added.

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Ireland ‘very close’ to end of pandemic, immunolog...
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Meanwhile, walk-in Covid-19 vaccine centres are set to open their doors across the country this bank holiday weekend to encourage uptake among younger people.

Back to the office

The success of the vaccine rollout in Ireland means a gradual return to the workplace could begin from September, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said.

“The vaccination targets that we've been meeting are phenomenal, we have incredible stories as a country in light of how we have actually pulled ahead now,” he said.

Mr Ryan said he expected people to return to the workplace in September. It was an important part of mental health to get back to office, he added.

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