August 8, 2022

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The spread of Covid-19 infections in older age groups is continuing to fall, coupled with...

The spread of Covid-19 infections in older age groups is continuing to fall, coupled with another drop in hospitalisations, it emerged yesterday.
ánaiste Leo Varadkar told the Seanad that “we are out-performing the most optimistic Covid-19 models presented to us a few weeks ago”.
He added: “This is due to the success of the third dose vaccine programme, a robust test and isolate programme, as well as measures like masks.”
The improving scenario emerged as the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned the new Omicron variant is “already everywhere”.
The number of Covid-19 patients being treated in hospital intensive care units stood at 117, up seven.
Another 5,590 new cases of the virus were reported yesterday.
But rates in the most vulnerable, the over-65s, who previously accounted for half of all hospitalisations, are falling, with Covid-19 booster shots getting the main credit.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said: “In the over-75 age group, where people have been taking up the offer of a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in high numbers, we are seeing significant reductions in the incidence of disease.
“This is another positive development and further evidence that getting a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine helps to protect from the most severe effects of the virus.”
He urged people “do not wait until after Christmas to receive your booster vaccine, the benefits of receiving your booster dose far outweigh any potential risks that may arise in the meantime.
“You will begin to receive the benefit of your booster protection within seven days of receiving your third dose.
“This means that anybody who received their vaccine this week can be confident in the protection the booster will offer them as we move closer to the Christmas period.
“As such, is it vital that all of us prioritise our booster appointments as soon as we receive them or make the time to attend a walk-in vaccination clinic if that option is available.”
A new update from the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) yesterday noted 274 cases of Omicron have now been reported in the EU, including one in Ireland.
Three cases of the Omicron variant have also been confirmed in Northern Ireland. Two are from the same household in the greater Belfast area and a third is an unconnected case in the South Eastern Trust area, officials said.
It said that most have a link with a history of travel to African countries, with some having taken connecting flights at other locations between Africa and Europe.
The case in Ireland is associated with travel to a southern African country.
However, it also pointed out several countries, including Belgium, Denmark and Spain, have detected cases of the new variant which involve community transmission where the people had not travelled to southern Africa.
Ireland is one of 43 countries in the European region which have imposed travel restrictions.
Dr Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, said travel bans do not work and were already too late because the new variant was “already everywhere”.
He said: “Omicron is in sight and on the rise and we are right to be concerned and cautious.” But he cited vaccines, masks, ventilation and medical care as the best weapons against the new variant.
He said to date the knowledge about the new variant is preliminary and there is no solid evidence on how it could impact the level of protection given by vaccines.
He said: “It has yet to be seen how and whether the latest Covid-19 variant of concern, Omicron, will be more transmissible and more severe.”
Meanwhile Mr Varadkar said it was predicted there would be a “tsunami” of business closures when the pandemic first hit in early 2020. Thankfully, that hasn’t transpired yet.
“In the meantime, we have reformed the law in this area to help as many businesses as possible to survive. So, earlier today I signed the order commencing the new SCARP legislation – the Small Companies Administrative Rescue Process,” he said.

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Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland


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