Republic of Ireland news

Number of Covid-19 tests in Republic jumps 30% week-on-week

“Please do come forward for a test if symptomatic. Not everyone is protected yet.”
Cate McCurry, PA

The number of Covid-19 swab tests is increasing by 30% every week as the Delta variant accounts for the majority of new cases, the head of the HSE has warned.

Paul Reid said that the number of Covid-19 tests carried out in the Republic yesterday was at its highest since January.

The chief executive also said that more than half of the adult population is now fully vaccinated against the virus.

Mr Reid said today: “Just an early alert (regarding) Delta. Yesterday we had almost 14,000 Covid-19 swab tests done in the community.

“This is the highest since January 11th. Swabbing is increasing by 30% week on week.

“Please do come forward for a test if symptomatic. Not everyone is protected yet.”

He added: “There are now over 50% of the adult population fully vaccinated, with 69% had their dose 1.

“A total of 4.42M vaccines administered to date with 345,000 completed last week.

“We’re working hard to protect as many people as quickly as possible.”

It comes as Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly confirmed that people in the 30 to 34 age group will be able to register online for an mRNA vaccine from tomorrow.

Mr Donnelly said that appointments will follow in a few days, with the first vaccinations for this group next week.

The portal had been due to open this Friday but has now been brought forward.

Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said the government is “anxious” to see the reopening of indoor dining as soon as possible.

Speaking ahead of today’s Cabinet meeting, Mr McGrath said the Delta variant is leading to more transmission.

“We have a process now in place where there are intensive discussions under way with the (hospitality) sector and as a government we are really anxious to see the resumption of indoor dining and indeed other indoor activities within the parameters of what is safe,” Mr McGrath said.

“We are learning more and more each day about Delta.

“While it is leading to increased transmission undoubtedly, thankfully the link between transmission of the virus and increased hospitalisation appears to be quite weak.

“The key point is that the vaccines are proven to be highly effective and this is a huge threshold that has been overcome today with over half of the adult population fully vaccinated and seven in ten adults with one dose.

“We are making real progress and we do want to see the resumption of indoor dining and indoor activities as quickly as possible.

“With good will on all sides and a willingness to try and do new things we think we can get there quite quickly.”

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the Government is monitoring the data around the Delta variant in the UK.

“I think the health data from the UK is very significant in terms of looking at what is the level of hospitalisations and that will give us a clear signal in how we do things,” Mr Ryan added.

He said he expects international travel to reopen as planned on July 19.

“It’s not going to be a huge change, we are taking this step by step,” he continued.

“Then in August we will start bringing public transport back to full levels, back to colleges and offices in September.

“I don’t think it will be like the UK where they are throwing the doors open in everything, I think it will be a more stage process here.

“I think that is more appropriate.”

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Republic of Ireland news