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Strong warning from CMO ahead of further easing of restrictions; Delta variant accounts for 20% of COVID-19 cases in last week

DUBLIN: The highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 is on the rise in Ireland, the Chief Medical Officer of Ireland has warned. Dr. Tony Holohan described the increase as “concerning”, adding that the Delta strain accounted for 20% of new coronavirus cases reported last week.

In a tweet, Dr. Holohan said that there have also been a number of outbreaks related with the Delta variant in the last week. His warning comes as the country is set to announce more exemptions on COVID-19 restrictions in the coming weeks. Indoor dining restrictions are scheduled to be lifted on July 5, but it remains to be seen whether the latest CMO warning will have an impact on this.

The CMO said that the pattern of the Delta variant in Ireland is similar to that of other European nations, and that it is important for all people to be fully vaccinated and to follow public health guidelines.

“It is really important that people who are not fully vaccinated continue to follow all public health advice. This includes people who are waiting for their second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine,” Dr. Holohan said.

“People should take a vaccine when it is offered to them and in the meantime they should continue to avoid crowds, limit contacts, avoid meeting up indoors and work from home where possible,” he added.

The Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, wreaked havoc in India – where it was first identified – during the second wave of COVID-19. The strain is also dominant in the UK, causing in an increase in hospitalisations.

The EU Digital COVID Certificate will take effect in Ireland from July 19. This will allow people who have been vaccinated as well as those who have had a negative PCR test to travel ‘freely’ across the EU. However, the CMO has already urged those who have not been fully vaccinated not to travel.

A further 284 COVID-19 cases were reported in Ireland. There are 53 patients being treated at various hospitals, with 13 of them being in intensive care units.

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