Fifteen nursing homes hit with Covid-19 outbreaks in all three waves

Nphet expected to provide fresh advice to Government on easing of remaining restrictions

Fifteen nursing homes were hit with outbreaks of Covid-19 in all three major waves of the pandemic, and a number of care facilities battled multiple outbreaks in a single wave, new figures show.

In total, 412 different nursing homes or community long-stay units across the State recorded outbreaks of the virus, with nearly half experiencing more than one outbreak since the start of the pandemic.

More than 100 nursing homes saw outbreaks of the virus in the first wave, and then again in the third wave, which peaked in January.

Eleven nursing homes faced several outbreaks within a single wave, according to figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), provided to The Irish Times.

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Meanwhile, the State’s public health team is expected to provide fresh advice to Government on the potential further easing of remaining pandemic restrictions.

Vaccine programme

A senior source said the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) is watching closely what is happening in Britain, Israel and the European Union in terms of Covid-19 cases and mortality.

Factoring in the success of the vaccine programme in Ireland, Nphet has now committed to providing the Government with new advice on the easing of restrictions later this month August.

Three meetings of the Cabinet Covid-19 committee have been scheduled throughout August to assess the impact of the Delta variant and consider new advice from Nphet.

It comes as the registration portal for 12- to 15-year-olds is expected to open in the coming days. The Government is finalising plans for an information campaign in the coming weeks to address any concerns that parents of children in this age group may have.

Thousands of people attended walk-in Covid-19 vaccination centres across the country on Saturday, with a high uptake for vaccines seen among older teenagers. More than two-thirds of those vaccinated in the clinics were between 19 and 16 years of age.

Mandatory quarantine

Paul Reid, head of the HSE, said the high numbers of younger people attending was a "good indicator" of uptake among the age cohort.

There was “strong evidence” the walk-in centres were being successful in their aim of attracting younger people to get vaccinated, he added.

Separately, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said this weekend that he would be adding two additional countries to the list of mandatory quarantine designated states.

Georgia and Malaysia are to be included on the booking system for mandatory hotel quarantine, with non-vaccinated passengers from these states entering quarantine starting from 4am on Wednesday.

Malaysia is currently struggling to tame a significant increase in Covid-19 cases, and more than a million cases have been reported there so far. Kuwait has been removed from the list of designated states.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent