Ireland 'In A Good Place' Regarding Planned Lifting Of Restrictions In October
Chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team's (Nphet) Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Professor Philip Nolan has said that the population of Ireland seems to have come close to suppressing COVID-19 and "we're in a good place" regarding the planned further lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on October 22.
As reported by rte.ie, Nolan said suppressing COVID-19 is down to very high levels of vaccination and the adherence to public health measures.
Nolan reportedly said while speaking on RTÉ News at One, "We're fortunate with our very high level of vaccinations and frankly the very sensible manner in which each and every one of us is taking the precautions, we seem to have come close to suppressing what is a very transmissible virus."
Nolan reportedly said that Ireland is living with the aftermath of what was "a very large wave of infection in the 16-34 age group" from the Delta variant, which occurred during the summer, when the population was partially vaccinated, and, "We're living with the aftermath of that force of infection right now. The cases we're seeing today are essentially the residual of that."
Nolan reportedly said that there are fewer cases in children between the ages of five and 12 and the rates of infection are quite low as a percentage of the entire population, and that comparing this week with the week just before schools opened, "they are doing 80% more testing, the positivity rate is less than half of what it was and the incidence is about 25% down".
Nolan reportedly said that that is really good news and "it's a testament to the mitigation measures that teachers, principals and parents have put in place".
Regarding the planned further lifting of COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions on October 22, Nolan reportedly said that "we're in a good place" and "there's nothing in the numbers at the moment that would change the advice that Nphet would have given government towards the end of August".
Nolan reportedly said that the incidence has not gone up because the very high vaccination rate of adults is protecting children by reducing the circulation of COVID-19, as well as because of mitigation measures in schools and because children under the ages of 10 to 12 seem to be less likely to catch the virus and less likely to transmit it.
Nolan reportedly said that the decision not to test children who are close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case in the classroom will not hinder the detection of the level of disease in this age group as symptomatic children will still have to present for testing.
Minister For Health Statements
Meanwhile, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly reportedly told the Dáil that Ireland is on track to lift existing restrictions on indoor hospitality services on October 22, and reportedly said that lifting the restrictions will be subject to a government decision based on 90% of over-16s being fully vaccinated.
Donnelly reportedly quoted Ireland's chief medical officer, Doctor Tony Holohan, who reportedly recently said that the future trajectory of COVID-19 cannot be predicted with certainty.
Donnelly reportedly said, "As a result, a response to the disease that is agile and flexible with an ability to pivot rapidly and respond to any new emerging threats need to be ensured,", and reportedly added that government legislation "is an important part of that response, should the potential for one arise in the future, and while unlikely it cannot be fully ruled out because of the uncertainty of the future trajectory of the virus".
Donnelly reportedly said that he is proposing that an amendment to the Health Act was due to expire on October 9, but would be extended for three months.
However, he reportedly added that this is being done to allow the government to extend the legal framework, and reportedly said, "We are not seeking to extend the time beyond 22 October."
Trinity College Biochemistry Professor Statements
Additionally, professor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin Professor Luke O'Neill reportedly said while speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne radio programme that there is some evidence that the Delta variant of COVID-19 may be "as bad as it's going to get" and that there is "some hope now that Delta may be the last throw of the dice for the virus".
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