Covid: 4,791 new cases confirmed, over 60s and healthcare workers queue for boosters

The number of people in hospital with the virus has fallen to 536.
Covid: 4,791 new cases confirmed, over 60s and healthcare workers queue for boosters

Muireann Duffy

The Department of Health has confirmed 4,791 new cases of Covid-19 as concerns over the new Omicron variant mount.

At 8am on Saturday morning, there were 536 people in hospital with the virus, down 36 on Friday's figures.

Of the total number of people hospitalised due to Covid, 118 were receiving treatment in intensive care units, a decrease of eight from Friday.

Concern regarding the high incidence of the virus in Ireland and speculation about the need for further restrictions over the coming weeks were heightened on Friday with the World Health Organisation's (WHO) confirmation that the B.1.1.529 Covid strain would be classed as a 'variant of concern', assigning its name, Omicron.

There are worries mutations in the strain may lead to increased transmissibility and immunity resistance, however, experts are stressing they do not yet know enough about the variant to be sure.

The news came as walk-in centres around the county began offering Covid-19 booster jabs to people aged 60-69 and healthcare workers earlier this week.

The Irish Examiner reports large queues have formed at Cork City Hall where the booster jabs are being administered today, in addition to first and second jabs.

The Government and public health officials continue to urge the public to get the initial course of the vaccine if they have not already done so, and to accept the booster when offered if they are already fully-vaccinated.

On Friday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar described the fourth wave of the virus as a "pandemic of the unvaccinated", explaining that almost half of people in hospital have not received the jab.

Information on the location of vaccination centres around the country can be found on the HSE website.

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