Republic of Ireland news

Vaccine passes may be required for hospital visits, Leo Varadkar says

The Tánaiste said that the government was working with the HSE on the introduction of a requirement for vaccine passes or Covid-19 certificates for anyone visiting hospitals
Dominic McGrath, PA

Vaccine passes may be needed for hospital visits, Leo Varadkar has said.

The Tánaiste told reporters today that the government was working with the HSE on the introduction of a requirement for vaccine passes or Covid-19 certificates for anyone visiting hospitals in the Republic.

He said: “I think it does make a lot of sense. Hospitals are full of vulnerable people who are immunocompromised and we don’t want them getting the virus, and hospitals are also full of people with the virus as well.

“So I think anything we can do to reduce the risk of the virus being introduced to hospitals makes sense to me.”

Earlier this month, the government announced that a range of Covid-19 restrictions – including the use of Covid-19 vaccine certificates – would remain until early 2022.

Currently, Covid-19 certificates are required for anyone using indoor hospitality.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan told Health Minister Stephen Donnelly earlier this month that “subject to operational feasibility” the Covid pass could be adopted “as a requirement for visitation to healthcare settings with a provision for exemptions on compassionate grounds”.

“It’s not about stopping visiting. It’s about facilitating safe visits,” he added.

Dr Holohan said Mr Donnelly was working on “operationalising” the measure.

Today, a further 1,631 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the Republic of Ireland.

There were 503 people in hospital with the disease, with 101 in intensive care.

At a briefing by the National Public Health Emergency Team this afternoon, deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said there had been a 27% increase in the number of patients in hospital with the virus in the last two weeks.

There were 67 newly notified deaths in the past week.

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