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Ireland ‘in middle’ of another wave of Covid-19, HSE warns

DUBLIN: The HSE’s Chief Clinical Officer warns that Ireland is in the middle of another wave of Covid-19, driven largely by Omicron sub-variants.

The Health Service Executive said more staff in acute hospitals are testing positive for Covid-19. About 600 staff members tested positive last week, putting increasing pressure on hospital services.

Speaking on RTE’s New at One, Dr Colm Henry said: “These new variants mean that the people who were previously infected with Delta, such as in summer, autumn of last year, or even that we call the BA.1 variant earlier this year, don’t enjoy that protection from reinfection from these variants.

“And what we’re seeing now, it highlights the fact that even though we’re in a much better position as a country in relation to Covid compared to previous summers, it highlights how much uncertainty still remains”.

He said this shows that Covid is not seasonal, but is a “virus for all seasons”.

There were 776 people in hospital with the virus, an increase of 25 on the same time yesterday. Of these, 31 people are in intensive care units, an increase of three since yesterday.

Meanwhile, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has asked National Immunisation Advisory Committee to examine if a fourth vaccine should be administered to people aged under 65 years later this year. The minister pointed out that there is not yet a common approach internationally to this issue. However, Mr Donnelly said he feels it is the right time to examine the issue given that Government is now drawing up plans for autumn.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said that legislation will be considered by the Cabinet around when a mask mandate might be needed. He also urged people who have not yet received a booster dose to do so.

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