Traffic levels continuing to rise across country despite Covid restrictions

Traffic levels continuing to rise across country despite Covid restrictions

Traffic volumes jumped by 2% last week, according to Liz Canavan, assistant secretary at Department of the Taoiseach.

TRAFFIC levels across the country are continuing to rise despite Government warnings against unnecessary travel.

Traffic volumes jumped by 2% last week, according to Liz Canavan, assistant secretary at Department of the Taoiseach.

"It is evident to us that people are beginning to move around again," Ms Canavan said.

The senior civil servant said that retail and recreational numbers are up 7%, while workplace travel is up by 3%.

Ms Canavan said that, while most people have been "incredibly compliant" with the rules, she urged the public to be patient a little longer.

"Staying at home is as important as ever," she added.

"You should only be in work if you're an essential worker to have to be in the workplace.

"If that is the case, it is vital to keep your guard up, follow the guidance during work."

The latest Covid-19 figures show that the number of people admitted to hospital with the virus is stabilising, while the positivity rate is decreasing.

On Wednesday morning, 831 people were in hospital with coronavirus, with 154 patients in intensive care.

However, Ms Canavan said that the number of Covid-19 cases remains high.

"This weeks' daily rates have been on a par with those seen last April," she said.

"In the last few days we've seen case numbers in excess of 800 a day.

"It's worth remembering that per 1,000 cases, you can expect somewhere between 35 to 50 people will need to be hospitalised, between four to six people will be admitted to ICU and most tragically somewhere between 10 to 15 people will lose their lives.

"That is still a lot of people going into hospital, it's still a lot of people ending up in ICU and it's still most tragically a lot of people dying of Covid-19.

"Numbers and hospitals are still more than double seen at the peak of the October wave, and the numbers in ICU are still at 158 yesterday."

This week marked the beginning of the next phase in the coronavirus vaccine programme, with people aged 85 or older living in the community receiving their jab.

Some 13,500 people over the age of 85 are due to receive their first dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine by the end of the week.

To date, more than 270,000 doses have been administered, meaning 5.3 vaccine doses per 100 people have been delivered.

The latest figures show that 1.7% of the population is fully vaccinated.

"Ireland is progressing well with our program compared to EU states, and is well above the EU average," Ms Canavan added.

Meanwhile, 20,100 businesses have registered for the Covid restriction support scheme (RSS) with Revenue.

This week, the Department of Social Protection issued weekly payments to approximately 477,700 people for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

It represents a decrease of 3,666 people compared to figures last week.

"This is the first time the numbers in the register have decreased since the introduction of Level five restrictions in December," Ms Canavan added.

"To date, around 5.9 billion has been paid out in total since March 2020."

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