CMO Predicts Potential Imminent Return Of Covid Related Restrictions

NPHET - CMO Dr Tony Holohan and lto his left the HSE's Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Colm Henry

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan will tell an Oireachtas Committee on Wednesday that a re-introduction of restrictions in the autumn and winter could still happen.

Despite the incredible progress of Ireland’s vaccination rollout programme, there is still a possibility of future restrictions in the coming months due to both the Delta variant and potential new variants of the deadly virus.

Dr Holohan has said that self-isolation, mask wearing and robust testing and contact tracing will remain key in the autumn and winter, despite an extremely high vaccine uptake.

In the context of this highly transmissible variant, it is unlikely that vaccination alone, even at the high levels of vaccine coverage that we have now achieved, will bring the effective reproduction number below 1 such that we will achieve suppression of the disease,” he will say in his opening statement to the Oireachtas Health Committee.

We cannot predict with certainty the future trajectory of the disease and, consequently, we cannot fully rule out the possibility that the reintroduction of measures may be required in the future.”

Dr Holohan is expected to urge Ireland to re-focus on basic public health measures such as washing your hands, maintaining social distancing and isolating should you begin to show symptoms.

The CMO’s advice comes after 1,181 new cases of the virus were confirmed in Ireland on Tuesday evening.

As of 8am on Tuesday, 309 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 60 are in ICU. The five-day moving average of cases now stands at 1,298. 90% of adults in Ireland now have at least one dose of the life-saving vaccine, with 88% of people aged 16 and over being fully protected.