Taoiseach urges public to ‘hold the collective nerve’ on Omicron variant

Micheál Martin said the State had been through different waves of the pandemic, adding: ‘we’ll get over this wave as well’.
Taoiseach urges public to ‘hold the collective nerve’ on Omicron variant

By Cate McCurry and Rebecca Black, PA

The Taoiseach has urged people to “hold the collective nerve” over the threat from the Omicron variant.

Micheál Martin described this phase of the pandemic as “different” with the vaccine booster jab being rolled out across Ireland.

“A week is a long time in Covid … we all need to hold the collective nerve, we’ve been through different waves of the pandemic, we’ll get over this wave as well,” he told RTÉ.

“We’ve a very good booster programme out there, 1.2 million people in the older age cohorts and people with underlying conditions vaccinated already.

“We’re going to get more done more quickly, people have adjusted their behaviour.

“This is a very transmissible variant though and it spreads very fast and that is a threat to us, we need to be conscious of that, and it’s really about working collectively using our common sense in terms of personal behaviour.

“It will be different to earlier phases of the pandemic and as we go through this, we need to adapt, we need to evaluate how we’ve performed in earlier phases and adjust accordingly and behave accordingly.”

Earlier Mr Martin said more members of the Defence Forces will be drafted in to help ramp up the number of booster jabs a day, the Taoiseach has said.

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

The Defence Forces will be deployed across to country in a bid to increase the number of daily booster jabs.

The Government also has plans to redeploy staff, increase the number of pop-vaccine centres and extending opening hours to help increase the number of booster vaccines.

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.

On Tuesday, another 3,887 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported in the Republic.

At 8am, there were 493 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 109 were in intensive care.

The chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said that approximately 14 per cent of Tuesday’s cases are due to the Omicron variant.

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

“The goal now is to limit the spread of Covid-19 through our tried-and-tested preventive measures. These measures can protect us and our families and will allow time for the booster vaccination programme to take effect.

“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.”

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