Video: No new restrictions, health system under pressure, 'Golfgate' trial continues

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No new restrictions

No new Covid-19 restrictions have been recommended by Nphet despite another day of record-breaking case numbers on Thursday.

A further 23,817 cases were confirmed on Thursday as the State’s public health team met to review the epidemiological situation.


However, it is believed that the number of Covid-19 infections is much higher than the figures being officially recorded.

As reported in The Irish Times, it is understood that at least 380,000 Omicron cases, and possibly as many as 500,000 have not been officially recorded.

Health system remains under pressure

The chief clinical officer of the HSE, Dr Colm Henry has said that without exemptions allowing asymptomatic staff who are close contacts to return to work, the health service “would be in serious trouble.”

The scale of disruption being experienced by the health service was “unprecedented” he told Newstalk Breakfast.


The HSE’s chief operating officer, Anne O’Connor told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that staff could not just be redeployed to other areas, but efforts were being made to send them where they were needed most.

The latest official figures, which were from Friday December 31st, were that 8,000 health services staff were not at work because they had either tested positive for Covid or were a close contact. That figure was more likely to be 14,000 to 15,000, she said.

Schools return

Teachers have reported an “incredibly difficult first day back” after schools reopened on Thursday following the Christmas break.

Children around the country returned to classrooms after public health officials told school managers and unions it was safe.


Meanwhile, school principals have revealed record low student attendances and severe staff shortages as the country reported its highest ever Covid-19 case numbers.

As the Irish Examiner reports, many principals said that 30 per cent to 40 per cent of children did not turn up for class.

Updated Covid-19 certs

From this week, updated Digital Covid Certs will be sent via email to people who have had their booster jab.

Current Covid Digital Certs will be valid for only nine months after completing the primary two-dose course, with updated certs being required for EU travel from February.


On Thursday, Minister of State for Public Procurement and eGovernment Ossian Smyth said there were no plans for the new certs to be required for indoor hospitality.

However, as reported in the Irish Examiner, Micheál Martin previously confirmed that people wishing to enter pubs and restaurants will soon have to show proof of having a booster vaccine.

'Golfgate' trial continues

Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Séamus Woulfe is due to give evidence on Friday in the trial of four men over alleged breaches of Covid-19 regulations during an Oireachtas Golf Society event.

Mr Justice Woulfe, a former attorney general, was appointed to the Supreme Court in July 2020 but did not sit on the court until last February following the controversy over his attendance at the ‘Golfgate’ dinner on August 19th, 2020.

As the Irish Times reports, lawyers for the two politicians and two hoteliers at the centre of the case in Galway District Court claimed on Thursday that they are being unfairly prosecuted.

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