Taoiseach echoes Holohan concern on rising coronavirus infections

Republic yet to hit peak of the Delta wave as cases mount to level not seen since February

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has acknowledged the concern of State chief medical officer (CMO) Tony Holohan about rising coronavirus cases and says he shares this worry as we have yet to reach “the peak of the Delta wave”.

Mr Martin was speaking during homecoming celebrations for the Irish Olympic rowers in Farran, Co Cork. He said the Government plans to liaise with the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) and Health Service Executive as preparations continue for rollout of the roadmap for reopening of certain sections of society.

He acknowledged remarks by Dr Holohan on Saturday in which he expressed anxiety about rising infection levels in the community, with cases in hospitals reaching “a level not seen since mid February.”

When asked if he was worried about the plans for the continued rollout of our roadmap back to normality from August 31st, Mr Martin replied that meetings were due to take place about same. He emphasised that the Government will listen to all the health advice given while formulating the roadmap.

“There will be a series of meetings which will lead to a new roadmap in relation to managing Covid-19 for the next couple of months, which will also involve the continued reopening of sections of society and we will work with each different sectors from the live entertainment and the arts sector to indoor sports and the return to work.

Vaccination is ‘key’

“But we are concerned about [the] Delta variant and the increase in numbers. At the meeting last week the CMO articulated that concern along with the Nphet representatives and the CEO [chief executive] of the HSE in terms of the impact on hospitalisation and ICUs [intensive care units].”

Mr Martin urged the public to continue to line up for vaccinations as getting vaccinated “is the key”.

“We are continuing to vaccinate younger age cohorts. They are still not enjoying the full protection of that vaccination programme as they having been receiving first doses later than the older age cohort. So we did anticipate this increase. And we anticipate an increase over the next couple of weeks.”

Mr Martin added that we have yet to reach the peak of the Delta wave.

“Any time the disease is increasing at this rate is a time for concern. So I would appeal to people to watch the fundamentals in terms of social distancing, wearing masks indoors and adhering to the basic guidelines.”