Republic in fourth Covid wave, says Leo Varadkar
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Republic is "without doubt" experiencing a fourth wave of Covid infections.
He said: "I think without doubt we are now well into a fourth wave, a Delta wave of infections.
"Nobody knows for sure how that will turn out, how long the wave will last or when it will peak.
"I suppose we are taking the optimistic view that we will take a similar course to Scotland, maybe peak around 3,000-4,000 cases over the next few weeks and then fall back and not see hospitalisations rise much above 500, ICU not much above 50.
"But we can't know that for sure and that is why we need to be quite cautious in the next couple of weeks, and while restrictions will be eased in relation to indoor dining on Monday, I don't anticipate there being very much easing beyond that, at least until we have a better idea as to where we stand with this Delta wave."
Mr Varadkar said indoor dining will resume on Monday for people who can show evidence of immunity.
He said: "Our plan is to have those regulations in place by Monday so that indoor dining can resume.
"There will also be guidelines from Failte Ireland, one in relation to pubs and one in relation to restaurants and cafes, and all that will be available for Monday.
"Indoors will only be for people who are immune as a consequence of vaccination and can prove it, and children who are accompanying them. People will need to show evidence of immunity on arrival before they take their seats.
"There won't be time limits indoors but there will be distancing between tables, a maximum of six people, and people will need to wear masks as they walk around.
"The advice from Nphet is that people who are vaccinated don't need to observe social distancing indoors, but because there will be children there we will continue to apply those regulations around social distancing in restaurants and pubs."