Covid pandemic has disproportionately affected older people, says Holohan, as 1,224 cases reported

Phased return to workplace to begin on Monday as restrictions ease further

Covid-19 has had a disproportionate impact on older people, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said on Saturday, as 1,224 further cases of the disease were reported in the Republic.

According to the latest figures, 278 patients are in hospital with Covid-19, of whom 63 are in intensive care.

Following the publication of the latest data, Dr Holohan said in a statement that the last 18 months had seen “a considerable burden placed on individuals, communities, and society as a whole”.

Thanking the public for its “solidarity” and continued efforts, Dr Holohan said: “The Covid-19 pandemic, and the necessary public health measures introduced to protect all of us from the worst impacts of this virus have had a disproportionate impact on our older people.


“I am particularly mindful that, as we move into the autumn/winter period and prepare for the dark evenings and cooler weather these seasons bring, many people in this cohort have concerns about how we can all continue to socialise safely and take part in the social and physical activities that keep us connected to our friends, families and wider communities.”

Ireland’s “exceptionally, almost unprecedentedly, high level of vaccination is the envy of our neighbours across the European Union and indeed, across the world,” said Dr Holohan.

The chief medical officer cited the Department of Health’s most recent Amárach research that showed high uptake of the vaccine in older people, with 96 per cent of respondents aged over 55 stating they are fully vaccinated.

Dr Holohan said vaccination remained the best means of protection against Covid-19 and urged anyone who has not been fully vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, “in order to best protect themselves and those around them”.

The public health advice in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will also help to stop the transmission of seasonal influenza, common colds and other respiratory illnesses that are more prevalent over the winter months, Dr Holohan said.

New cases

In Northern Ireland, five further deaths of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19 were confirmed on Sunday. The Department of Health said there have also been 889 new cases in the last 24-hour reporting period.

A total of 2,505,607 vaccines have been administered in the North.

Brian MacCraith, chairman of the high-level task force on Covid-19 vaccination, said on Sunday that 90 per cent of those aged 16 and over are now fully vaccinated in the Republic.

Ninety-three per cent of those aged 18 and over have received at least one dose.

A phased return to workplaces is to begin from Monday and indoor group activities can resume under certain circumstances as remaining Covid-19 restrictions continue to be eased.

Organised indoor group activities, such as bingo and dance classes, will be allowed take place with up to 100 people where all patrons are fully vaccinated or recovered from the virus in the previous six months.

Restrictions on outdoor group activities for participants will also be removed, though limits on spectators at sports and arts events remain in place.

The National Public Health Emergency Team will also be scaled back from October 22nd.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times