News

Nphet meet to consider need for increased restrictions before Christmas

Nphet meet to consider need for increased restrictions before Christmas

Muireann Duffy

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will meet on Thursday to discuss the need for additional restrictions to control the transmission of Covid-19 over the Christmas period.

The Irish Times reports public health officials are expected to discuss whether such action is necessary, given the high prevalence of the virus in the country, coupled with concerns surrounding the Omicron variant.

While the return of a strict lockdown is not thought to be one of the measures being considered, curbs to limit socialising may be on the cards, such as restrictions on the size of bookings for hospitality venues or an enhanced use of the Covid cert.

Advertisement

Speaking after the Department of Health confirmed 3,793 additional cases of the virus on Wednesday evening, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said cases are stabilising, but at a very high level.

He added that the booster campaign was having a significant impact on driving down case numbers in older cohorts, while the high incidence of the virus among younger children was due in part to them not yet being vaccinated.

TΓ‘naiste Leo Varadkar told a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday evening that he is "sceptical" as to whether further Covid restrictions are warranted at this time as the outlook of the virus is "stable or improving slightly".

He added Ireland is doing "substantially better" than optimistic scenarios for cases, hospitalisations and deaths outlined in Nphet projections.

Advertisement

β€œFor this reason, he said he was sceptical that imposing new restrictions on people’s freedoms, family life and businesses would be warranted at this time,” a party source said.

However, the high level at which cases seem to have stabilised at is a cause of concern, with the source adding that the worry is "if things went wrong in the run-up to Christmas, they would go wrong from a very high base".

Advertisement