Covid: Further 3,887 cases as Government meets Nphet over Omicron response

Approximately 14 per cent of the new infections are due to the Omicron variant
Covid: Further 3,887 cases as Government meets Nphet over Omicron response

A further 3,887 confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the Republic, the Department of Health has said.

Approximately 14 per cent of the new Covid infections are due to the Omicron variant, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan confirmed.

“In line with the experience of many other countries, we can expect this proportion to rise rapidly over the coming days,” Dr Holohan added.

“This means that as we move closer to Christmas, we must try to reduce the number of people we meet, avoid crowds and work from home unless it is essential to attend in person.

“I encourage anyone eligible for a booster vaccination to take that opportunity. Boosters are proven to be effective in restoring protection against all variants of Covid-19.”

At 8am on Tuesday there were 493 Covid-positive patients in hospital, including 109 in intensive care.

The update comes as Coalition party leaders prepare for a meeting with members of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) on Tuesday evening.

It is understood Dr Holohan will update the party leaders and lead Ministers on the latest Covid trends ahead of Christmas.

A source told The Irish Times that the meeting is for politicians to get an “update”. Politicians have been anxious that Nphet may recommend increased restrictions after its planned meeting on Thursday.

There is significant resistance at a senior level to any call for further restrictions. Irish Times sources believe Ireland has been outlier in comparison to other European countries in terms of the length and severity of lockdowns.

Meanwhile, the health service is set to provide a revised Covid-19 booster plan that will immediately accelerate the level of vaccinations within days.

This will involve longer hours at centres, new satellite centres and staff being redeployed from across the public sector.

The Government is under pressure to rapidly speed up the vaccine programme as concerns over the effects of the Omicron variant escalate.

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, told the Cabinet about plans to increase capacity in the coming weeks.

Mr Donnelly said on Tuesday morning that Government will bring in more measures and scheduling options so more people can get the booster jab.

Later, the Taoiseach told the Dáil that more members of the Defence Forces will be deployed across to country to help ramp up the number of booster jabs a day.

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