THREE major changes to Ireland’s Covid-19 rules will be introduced before the Cabinet today, including new measures on testing, close contact and quarantine periods.
It comes as Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly tonight warned that Ireland is likely to experience half a million Covid-19 shifts per week in the Omicron wave but our testing system couldn’t keep up.
Ministers will decide tomorrow whether to push forward with three new recommendations from the National Public Health Emergencies Group.
Anyone who tests positive for the virus will only have to quarantine for a total of seven days instead of the previous 10.
Anyone who is symptomatic and receives a positive antigen test will no longer need a confirmatory PCR test and will instead record their positive antigen on a new HSE website.
And those who have received the booster vaccine will no longer be subject to movement restrictions if they are considered close contact with a confirmed case.
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This will also apply to people who have had two doses of the vaccine but cannot get a booster shot because they have been infected in recent months.
People will still be advised to have regular antigen tests but will not need to restrict their movements.
People who have been vaccinated but have not received a booster shot will only have to limit their activity for seven days instead of the current 10 days.
These major changes to Ireland’s pandemic response come after the Government requested advice from NPHET following severe pressure on all sectors due to staff furloughs due to their infection or exposure. near the.
‘NEW MEASURES OF THE DAY’
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said tonight that the measures would come into force “fairly soon” if the Cabinet signed them into law tomorrow.
The Irish Sun understands that the new Covid measures could be in place within two days if the Cabinet agrees on the new rules.
Today, the Ministry of Health detected about 19,290 new cases of the virus with 1,062 people being treated for Covid in hospitals – 92 of which are being treated in ICUs.
However, Minister Donnelly tonight warned that public health experts have told him Ireland’s true number of Covid-19 cases in the Omicron wave could be as high as half a million infections a week.
‘Half Millions of Cases Every Week’
Ireland’s PCR testing system has been overloaded for weeks with tens of thousands of people unable to sign up for testing each day due to lack of capacity.
“We’re reporting around 22,000 to 25,000 positive cases a day right now – that’s really a function of the PCR system,” said Minister Donnelly.
“The advice we have is double to triple, so it’s 60,000 to maybe 70,000 a day, 400,000 to 500,000 a week.”
HSE is launching a new online system this week that will allow people with positive PCR results to record their positive results. This system will be included in everyday cases.
Minister Donnelly said he was aware this would lead to a “clear increase” in daily cases while people record their antigens.
It came with the name Tanaiste Leo Vardakar said there was “foundation for cautious optimism” that the current Covid-19 restrictions on the hospitality industry could be eased in the coming weeks.
‘Platforms for SERIOUS OPTIMIZATION’
Asked about the 8pm curfew, Minister Varadkar said: “I think there are grounds for cautious optimism, certainly in the medium term.
“It’s pretty clear now that Omicron is less severe than previous strains of the virus.
“It is inherently less severe but there is also a lot of immunity that has been built between the vaccine and those exposed to Covid.
“While we are seeing record numbers of non-hospital transfers, ICU admissions and deaths the way it has done in previous episodes, and that’s very reassuring.
“But it’s not yet time to let our guard down, this is still happening. We expect it to peak throughout January and that will put us in a position to start easing restrictions in February.” but it’s still too early for that.”
Minister Varadkar also again said the Government is considering a double bank holiday in March in memory of those lost in the pandemic, followed by a new annual bank holiday on St Brigid’s Day.
Varadkar said no official decision has been made yet, however the Government is working on a proposal to have a double bank holiday on 17 and 18 March.
https://www.thesun.ie/news/8189812/covid-19-ireland-isolation-antigen-test-booster-vaccine/ Covid-19 Ireland – Government considering three major changes to Covid-19 measures could kick in this week