Covid numbers could go in wrong direction fast



The Taoiseach has told a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party that the current Delta wave of Covid-19 has stabilised with cases and hospitalisations levelling off but the Government remains concerned.
But Micheál Martin warned colleagues that case numbers are still high and can flip in the wrong direction very quickly.
He said there is a need to keep calm, remain cautious and await the science along with a combination of vigilance, reduced socialisation and an accelerated booster campaign.
Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said the Government was aware that the hospitality sector was paying the price for the positive response to public health advice.
Fianna Fáil’s Cathal Crowe has said that a motion to reverse the cut to wage supports for employers was passed at the party’s parliamentary party meeting last night due to concerns for the hospitality and tourism sectors.
Deputy Crowe, who is the party spokesperson on tourism and aviation, said that a reduction in the wage supports is happening at a time when an aggressive fourth wave of Covid-19 leaves many in business facing into a bleak winter period.
The motion is seeking a reversal in the cuts up until March.
He said Taoiseach Micheál Martin will meet with impacted sectors tomorrow.
Mr Crowe said that targeted Covid supports are needed for those facing into instability and lay-offs.
He said we need to “support them and reintroduce some payments to the full extent [that was there] when we first brought them in”.
He said the financial capacity to allow for this was built into the Budget.Meanwhile, the Tánaiste told a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting that the country is doing substantially better than optimistic models from the National Public Health Emergency Team in terms of Covid-19 cases, numbers in hospital and deaths.
For this reason, Leo Varadkar said last night he was sceptical that imposing new restrictions on people’s freedoms, family life and businesses would be warranted at this time.
He said there was a concern that the situation had stabilised at a high level and if anything went wrong in the run up to Christmas, it would go wrong from a very high base.
Mr Varadkar said there was a genuine cause for concern with people socialising more at Christmas and the Government would carefully listen to NPHET’s advice on the matter before making any decisions.

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Yesterday, the Chief Medical Officer said that while there were encouraging signs that infection rates had stabilised, this was at a very high level with well over 1,300 cases per 100,000 population on a 14-day incidence rate.
Dr Tony Holohan’s comments came as the Department of Health confirmed 3,793 new cases.
There were 578 people with the virus in hospital, down one since Tuesday. Of these 117 were in intensive care, five fewer than Tuesday.
A total of 5,707 Covid-19 related deaths have been notified in Ireland, including 55 deaths newly notified in the past week.



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