The Delta variant of the coronavirus will not stop Ireland emerging from the pandemic, according to the country’s deputy chief medical officer.
Dr Ronan Glynn said that while concerns remain about the more transmissible variant, measures taken to protect people against Covid-19 up to this point remain as effective as before.
It comes as 631 cases of the virus were confirmed on Friday — in the highest daily figure since April — as the Delta variant has moved from accounting for around five per cent of cases in early June, to a current 70 per cent and rising.
The 14-day incidence rate of the disease has risen 30 per cent over the past fortnight, as the country deals with the variant that is up to twice as transmissible as the one present this time last year.
Dr Glynn said: “Since the vaccine programme started, we have consistently said that vaccination and our continued adherence to the public health advice we are all so familiar with are our pathways out of this pandemic.
The risks posed by the Delta variant do not change this reality
“While we are concerned about the impact the Delta variant will have on the disease in Ireland, the risks posed by the Delta variant do not change this reality.
“All of the things you have been doing over the past 18 months to protect yourself, your family and your friends remain effective.
“And crucially, if you are not fully vaccinated, [these] remain just as important now as at any time previously. Please prioritise who you need to see. Remember, that the fewer people you meet, the less chance the virus has to spread — either to you, or by you.”
— Department of Health (@roinnslainte) July 9, 2021
Some parts of the country are more affected by the Delta variant than others, Dr Glynn said, including Donegal, Waterford and Dublin — with numbers also rising in Sligo, Limerick, Roscommon and Meath.
On Saturday morning, HSE chief executive Paul Reid confirmed that 55 per cent of Ireland’s adult population is now fully vaccinated.
70 per cent of adults have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, Mr Reid said, with over 275,000 doses administered this week so far.
Hospitalisations are holding steady, he added, with 50 people currently in hospital with the disease and 15 people in intensive care.
Over 55% of the adult population now fully vaccinated & 70% partially. Over 275,000 vaccinations administered this week so far. Holding at 50 #COVID19 patients in hospital with 15 in ICU. A big challenge but we all want to protect where we're at, for now. @HSELive
— Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin) July 10, 2021
On Friday, the Taoiseach said getting vaccinated was the best way to protect against disease.
Speaking after receiving his second vaccine dose at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork, Micheál Martin joined health officials in urging people to get their jabs as soon as possible in response the Delta variant.
“Thankfully in Ireland, we have very high levels of vaccine uptake, which I think helps to protect broader society,” he said.
“Already with the opening up and facilitating access to Janssen and Astrazeneca [vaccines], the signs are that that level of uptake is continuing, people are anxious to get the vaccine. It offers us the best protection against Covid-19.”