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Strict restrictions will remain in place until more than 70% of population is vaccinated

DUBLIN: TheNational Public Health Emergency Team said that strict controls will remain in place until more than 70% of the population is vaccinated. Until then, large crowds, sporting events and cultural events will not be allowed, said Professor Philip Nolan, head of NPHET’s epidemiological modelling advisory group.

The government aims to vaccinate all adults by September. According to the latest figures, 1,47,700 first doses and 13,800 second doses have been given.

Ireland is preparing for the gradual resumption of school and college academic facilities. In this situation the country is not ready to accept the mass gatherings. “Before we are all packed indoors in an intense social setting, or there are very large mass gatherings, we are going to have to have over 70 per cent of the population immune and probably higher because of new variants. Until we are approaching that heard immunity threshold, those kinds of large or very crowded indoor social gatherings are not going to be safe,” Prof. Nolan said.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has confirmed that the European Union will receive an additional 9 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in the first quarter of this year. The European Commission has intervened following reports that the supply of vaccines to the European Union will be low.

AstraZeneca is the third vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency. With this, AstraZeneca has teamed up with Pfizer / Biotech and Moderna in the EU vaccination.

HSE plans to administer 46,000 doses of the vaccine next week. One or two doses will be given to front line health care workers, staff and those living in long-term care facilities.

The vaccine was given to 99% of those scheduled to be vaccinated by January 27. The HSE added that only 0.4% chose not to receive it.

On Sunday, 1,247 new COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths were reported in the Republic. In Northern Ireland, 426 cases and 19 COVID deaths were reported.

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