Could Covid restrictions be on the way back around? Here's what we know
Minster Stephen Donnelly says the number of Covid cases is now likely hundreds of thousands per week.
The rising number of Covid cases in Ireland, coupled with the emergence of the new BA.2 variant, has seen calls for the reintroduction of some restrictions.
This weekend, HSE CEO Paul Reid warned the public of the "huge stress" on hospitals throughout the country.
On Monday, almost 40,000 cases of Covid were reported from the previous three days. The Emergency Department Taskforce for the HSE issued a letter to the government to reconsider public health measures.
However, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has now said that despite the rising numbers, the government is not considering bringing in any new measures.
He instead re-emphasised the advice that people should wear face masks at "appropriate times", and stay at home if they have Covid symptoms until 48 hours after symptoms have passed.
He urged those who have not yet had a booster shot to get one, saying that 60% of all Covid patients in hospital have not yet been boosted.
The Health Minister went on to say that the true number of Covid cases per week is probably hundreds of thousands.
"The sub variant that we’re dealing with now, the BA.2 variant, is very, very contagious and the kind of measures you would need to radically reduce the spread would be really quite serious measures indeed,” he told a private Fianna Fáil party members meeting on Monday night.
“If we’re registering 10,000 to 15,000 cases a day through PCR and antigen tests, you can be sure the actual numbers are several times that much.
“We are most likely looking at several hundred thousand new Covid cases per week at the moment, which is a very high number."
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland on Monday, HSE’s chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry addressed the "highly contagious" BA.2 variant and said there needs to be more compliance with advice around mask-wearing from the public as "the pandemic has not gone away.”
"You never know who beside you may be vulnerable to the virus or who's not been vaccinated. And you're not just protecting yourself, you're protecting other people so that advice remains very strong," he said.
As of Tuesday (29 March) the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has been notified of 5,962 PCR-confirmed cases of Covid. 1,605 patients are in currently in hospital with Covid, with 50 of those patients in intensive care.
Feature Image via Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie