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Taoiseach regrets easing COVID restrictions ahead of Christmas

DUBLIN: Taoiseach Micheál Martin has expressed regret in announcing further easing of COVID-19 restrictions ahead of Christmas, which led to a spike in COVID cases.

The Taoiseach himself came to the scene with regret following the assessment that the lockdown exemptions announced in Ireland in early December had led to an increase in COVID cases. Contrary to NPHET recommendations, the government had allowed the opening of the hospitality sector and encouraged household visits during this period.

Mr. Martin said he regretted for easing the restrictions and said that if the current situation had been understood then, the concessions would never have been given. At the same time, he said, schools would be reopened as currently decided.

Meanwhile, further 12 people died of COVID infection in Ireland yesterday. This brings the total number of COVID deaths to 3,686. A further 1,024 positive cases were reported yesterday. With this, the number of confirmed COVID cases in the country has reached 203,568.

At the same time, Ireland’s COVID vaccination is progressing rapidly. Currently, Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines are being distributed in the country. In addition, the government expects the first batch (21,000 doses) of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID vaccine to arrive in Ireland this weekend. Ireland will receive 400,000 doses of the vaccine in the first quarter. It is two lakh doses less than what was promised earlier.

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