Tomas Doherty and Vivienne Clarke
The chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, has noted a “concerning increase” in transmission of the Delta variant of coronavirus in Ireland.
Dr Holohan said the variant, first detected in India, accounted for up to 20 per cent of Covid cases reported in the last week.
It comes as an additional 284 Covid cases were confirmed in the Republic, according to the Department of Health.
As of midnight on Sunday there were 53 people in hospital with the disease, of whom 13 are in intensive care units.
Dr Holohan said “a number of outbreaks” reported this week were associated with the Delta variant.
“This is similar to a pattern being seen in a number of other EU member states,” he added.
Today’s data show a concerning increase in transmission of the Delta variant in Ireland.
We estimate that Delta accounts for up to 20% of cases reported in the last week.
We have also seen a number of outbreaks associated with this variant reported in the last week.
— Dr Tony Holohan (@CMOIreland) June 21, 2021
“In the UK, Delta has been the dominant strain of Covid-19 for a number of weeks and now they are beginning to experience a rise in hospitalisations.
“It is really important that people who are not fully vaccinated continue to follow all public health advice.
“This includes people who are waiting for their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“People should take a vaccine when it is offered to them and in the meantime they should continue to avoid crowds, limit contacts, avoid meeting up indoors and work from home where possible.”
Meanwhile, people in their 20s should be fully vaccinated by the end of September if supplies arrive as anticipated, the HSE’s national director for the Covid vaccination programme has said.
Damien McCallion also told RTÉ’s News at One that people should attend for their vaccination, if possible, at the appointed day and time.
However, if they cannot make their appointment they can make an alternative appointment.
“I would encourage everyone to take their appointment when they get it. It allows us to maintain the momentum and to get as many vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
Mr McCallion explained that people aged 39 downwards can register this week and they will start receiving appointments in the coming three weeks. In the meantime anyone in their 40s, 50s, 60s and older who has not yet been vaccinated can still register – those over 50 can also avail of the vaccine through their local pharmacy.
If supplies arrive as anticipated then Mr McCallion expects those in their 30s to be fully vaccinated by the end of August and those in their 20s by the end of September.
People who have had Covid will have the option to forgo the second dose, he added.