Ireland On Track To Lift COVID-19 Restrictions In October, Says CMO
Published on Sep 16 2021 8:00 AM in General Industry tagged: Featured Post / Outdoor Dining / outdoor drinking / indoor dining / indoor drinking / National Immunisation Advisory Committee / NIAC / European Medical Association
Ireland's chief medical officer, Doctor Tony Holohan, has told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health that Ireland is on track to proceed with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions on October 22, as outlined in the recently-unveiled new plan for reopening society.
As reported by rte.ie, when asked "are we still on track for the ending of restrictions on 22 October?", Holohan told the committee that he expects that Ireland will be in that position in a number of weeks.
Holohan reportedly said that this is because there are "a lot of encouraging trends" in age specific groups.
Further Lockdowns Cannot Be Ruled Out
However, while Holohan reportedly said that he does not foresee further lockdowns, he reportedly added, "We can never absolutely rule anything out."
The Health Service Remains In A "Challenging" Position
Holohan reportedly warned that the health service remains in a "challenging" position and that people should not be "talking about herd immunity", but about getting 90% of the population over the age 16 vaccinated against COVID-19.
Possible Change In Testing And Self-Isolation Rules
Holohan reportedly told Social Democrats co-leader Róisin Shortall that Ireland is currently at 88%, and reportedly said that he expects that "in a very short period of time" there will be a change in the rules for testing and self-isolation, including for children.
The Basis For "Cautious Optimism"
Holohan reportedly said that things in the Republic of Ireland when it comes to the Delta variant of COVID-19 are going "better that they're going perhaps in the four regions of the UK", and that this is the basis for "cautious optimism".
Border Counties And Northern Ireland
Holohan reportedly ruled out regional lockdowns in border counties, but reportedly said that he shares the concerns of the authorities in Northern Ireland about the high cases numbers there, and that the case numbers in border counties more closely resemble those in Northern Ireland than elsewhere in the Republic.
There have reportedly been 535 cases per 100,000 people in Northern Ireland in the past week, which is reportedly close to three times the level in the Republic, where there has reportedly been 190 cases per 100,000 people.
When asked about the use of booster shots, Holohan reportedly said that the European Medical Association is looking at this and that he expects to see some developments "in the near term".
Chair of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) Professor Karina Butler reportedly said that vaccines are "a scare resource" and the NIAC needs to be sure that a third dose "is needed, is safe and will achieve what we set out to do".
Butler reportedly said that she hopes "that all staff in nursing homes would be vaccinated", but the "evidence has not supported a need for" a booster shot for frontline healthcare workers.
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