A new group to replace Nphet and advise the government on Covid-19 will be set up “soon”, according to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
Hief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has sent Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly a proposal outlining the details of a new Covid strategy monitoring group.
When asked when the group would be announced, the Tánaiste said, “I don’t have a date, but I understand it’s imminent.”
Speaking at an event at Dublin’s Connolly Hospital, Mr Varadkar said there had been talks about membership in the group but final details had not yet been agreed.
The Tánaiste said that any advice on possible restrictions will continue to be received from Dr. Holohan will come after Nphet was disbanded following the easing of final restrictions.
However, he said he didn’t want to see any restrictions.
“We definitely don’t want to get into a situation where we have to re-impose restrictions. This virus will not go away. We’re going to have more waves over the next few months, next few years, and we don’t want to toggle on and off restrictions. We have to live with this virus,” he said.
“From today’s perspective, if you will, we are witnessing a second wave of Omicron. It is powered by the Omicron plus variant which is known to be more contagious than the original Omicron variant strain and is powered by the fact that these things come in waves and there has been a reduction in restrictions over the past few weeks and people are mixing more. “
Mr Varadkar said it’s no surprise we’re seeing a spike in infections.
“Covid will be with us for eternity. There will be future variants, there will be future waves, but because we’re at the point where we have a highly vaccinated population and because we now have treatments, effective treatments for Covid that are preventing people from being hospitalized , we should be able to live with it,” he said.
His comments come as the Department of Health was informed of 21,098 new cases of Covid-19 since last night.
About 7,038 cases were reported today through PCR testing, while 14,060 people registered a positive antigen test via the HSE portal yesterday.
As of 8 a.m. today, 1,395 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized, with 55 in intensive care.
Today’s figures follow the surge in case numbers and hospitalizations in recent weeks, with over 50,000 cases detected during the extended St Patrick’s Day bank holiday.
The number of hospital admissions related to Covid-19 has increased by 75 percent since the beginning of March.
The public is being urged to return to basic measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing to contain the spread of the virus.
The Chair of the Irish Medical Organization (IMO) GP Committee, Dr. Denis McCauley said there was reluctance to acknowledge this surge now that all Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.
However, he stressed that something had to be done as hospital admissions and the number of intensive care units continue to rise.
“I think there’s an uptick, and there’s a reluctance to acknowledge that,” said Dr. McCauley on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland.
“Numbers in hospitals are rising and this has been talked about for two weeks, but unfortunately two weeks later we see that numbers in intensive care are also rising.
“I think there is a problem and we have to recognize it.
“The tone is there’s no problem, people are like, ‘Covid again, come on, give us space.'”
Meanwhile, HSE chief Paul Reid told Newstalk this morning he was “very clearly urging the public to get back to basics” like wearing masks, social distancing and hand hygiene.
He said the current rise in cases is overwhelming the healthcare system not only because of the increase in hospital admissions but also because 4,300 staff in the HSE have been absent from the past week due to Covid-19.
https://www.independent.ie/news/new-covid-19-advice-group-to-replace-nphet-imminently-as-daily-cases-surge-to-21098-41479769.html New Covid-19 advisory group set to replace Nphet ‘immediately’ as daily cases surge to 21,098