We will get through summer without bringing back Covid restrictions, says Varadkar
Masks won't be coming back.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has said that the country is expected to get over the "summer wave" of Covid-19 cases without the need to reintroduce restrictions.
The news comes after 606 people were in hospital and were being treated for Covid-19 on Monday, which was a rapid rise in cases compared to last week.
The HSE has also said that half of those being treated in hospital with the illness have not gotten their booster vaccine.
Speaking about the possibility of introducing more restrictions, Varadkar said that the current advice from Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan was that the wearing of a mask is advised but not mandatory.
He said: “As always the case, we’ll be guided by public health advice on this.
“The current advice from the CMO is that we don’t need to extend the mask mandate, that we continue to encourage it in healthcare settings and obviously on public transport as well but not that it would be legally mandatory.
“We are seeing a summer wave of infections as you know, over 600 people in hospital today were positive.
“About half of them would be in hospital anyway, but nonetheless it is an increase and I think we will get over this summer wave without the need to impose any new restrictions, but obviously we’ll be guided by public health advice in that regard.”
The news comes after CEO of the HSE Paul Reid made comments that there was a possibility that mandatory mask-wearing on public transport and other enclosed spaces could be reintroduced across the country due to the rise in cases.
The HSE’s chief clinical officer, Dr Colm Henry has spoken out about his concern over the new cases, telling Claire Byrne that it is driven mostly by a sub-type of the Omicron variant.
He said that while it is much more transmissible, the variant doesn't seem to be more virulent or aggressive.
He said: "While hospitalisations are going up, we are seeing ICU numbers steady which is of some assurance.
"The harsh reality is that if you look at hospitalisations, 606 this morning, unfortunately over half have not received their booster and over a third haven't even got vaccinated in the first place.
“It's not too late for those people to get vaccinated.”
Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie