Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer has warned that the new Level 5 measures “may not be sufficient” to bring COVID-19 under control.
Dr Tony Holohan told Health Minister Stephen Donnelly this week that “additional measures” may be required if the situation worsens.
As the country begins Level Five today, household visits are banned, while people can exercise only within 5km of their homes. Non-essential retail and gyms have until the end of business today to close until 31st January. Schools will remain closed until January 11th.
The National Public Health Emergency Team told the government that the third wave of Covid-19 is the “most concerning observed since the onset of the pandemic in Ireland.”
“Ireland is now experiencing a third wave of infection, with older and vulnerable adults an ongoing key concern and at high risk of significant morbidity and mortality.”
Two-thirds of Covid-19 deaths in December were related to outbreaks of the virus in hospitals and nursing homes.
Dr Holohan, in a letter dated 30th December, told Minister Donnelly that the situation remains extremely fragile. He said it is likely that there is still some element of under-reporting as a result of the festive period, and cautioned that the additional Level 5 measures recommended may not be sufficient.
“The level of disease has now exceeded containment and, as such, we are now in a mitigation phase,” Dr Holohan said.
As of 2pm today (Thursday), 490 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 42 are in ICU. There have been 58 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.