‘Significant removal of restrictions’ likely on October 22, says Coveney

Speaking in Cork at the unveiling of a new mural on Grand Parade, Mr Coveney said the Government would listen to advice from the experts before finalising any decision.
‘Significant removal of restrictions’ likely on October 22, says Coveney

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has said he expects there to be a “significant removal of restrictions” next week but cast doubt on whether Government will be in a position to lift all remaining restrictions on October 22.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has said he expects there to be a “significant removal of restrictions” next week but cast doubt on whether Government will be in a position to lift all remaining restrictions on October 22.

Speaking in Cork at the unveiling of a new mural on Grand Parade, Mr Coveney said the Government would listen to advice from the experts before finalising any decision.

“I don’t think the Government will abandon plans to remove restrictions at the end of next week but whether or not we’re able to do as much as we would have liked is the question.

“We’re watching very closely the numbers, the number of people in hospital, the pressure on the health system, and of course the continuing presence of Covid across society.

“We’ve seen a 12% increase in people testing positive in the last week.

“Of course that’s a concern, it’s not a big surprise but it is something we need to watch and the Government will do what we always do when we make decisions in relation to Covid - we’ll take public health advice, we’ll look at the science, we’ll make informed decisions and we’ll make that decision on Tuesday,” he said.

“I think the likelihood is that there will be a significant removal of restrictions at the end of next week but whether we’re able to go as far as we would have liked, or as far as we had announced would be the case, remains to be seen and we’ll make that decision on Tuesday.

“Undoubtedly there will be a removal of restrictions.

“The question is whether the extent of that is somewhat constrained by concerns in relation to increases in numbers over the last week or so,” Mr Coveney continued.

Growth rate of the epidemic “accelerated in recent days”

Yesterday there were an additional 1,627 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

As of 8am yesterday, 415 Covid-19 patients were in hospital of whom 70 were in ICU.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, Dr Ronan Glynn said the growth rate of the epidemic has “accelerated in recent days”.

“All indicators of Covid-19 are pointing towards a deteriorating disease trajectory nationally.

“We are seeing an increase in incidence in all age groups, including older age groups.

“The national incidence is now 415/100,000,” he commented yesterday.

He said there is now an average of 50 people being admitted to hospital per day which is up from 35 per day at the end of September.

“It’s important that anyone who is fully vaccinated is reassured that vaccines give very good protection from Covid-19.

“However, when incidence of disease is high, we will see breakthrough infections in vaccinated people - most people’s experience of infection will be mild, but some will end up in hospital and intensive care. We want to avoid that.” 

Dr Glynn implored people to continue to follow public health advice.

“If you have any symptoms of Covid-19 including a high temperature, dry cough, or flu-like symptoms, please get a test and stay at home.

“Do not go to work, school, college or socialise.

“This applies even if you are fully vaccinated – please do not assume that because you are vaccinated you can’t get Covid-19.

“Continue to regularly wash hands, wear a mask when appropriate – particularly in retail settings, on public transport and in healthcare settings; keep your distance, open windows and ventilate indoor spaces, and choose outdoors where possible for meeting others,” he said.

“You should follow this advice regardless of your vaccination status."

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