No additional restrictions recommended by Nphet as record 23,817 cases reported

No additional restrictions recommended by Nphet as record 23,817 cases reported

Ireland has recorded the highest number of daily cases since the outbreak of the pandemic as Nphet held their first meeting of 2022.

A further 23,817 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed by the Department of Health this evening.

As of 8am this morning, there are 941 Covid patients in hospital, an increase of 13 on yesterday.

Of these, 90 are in intensive care – down four in the past 24 hours.

The nation’s public health advisors have not advised any additional restrictions.

Nphet met this evening to discuss the ongoing Covid situation and sources said that it has recommended a continuation of the current restrictions regime until the end of January.

Any changes to rules around isolation for close contacts will not be made until Nphet is satisfied that the peak of the current Omicron wave has passed, which could be next week.

Nphet is also understood to have told the Government that more data is needed to fully assess the impact the current high case numbers will have on ICUs.

Proof of booster will be needed to enter pubs and restaurants, says Taoiseach, and because of new travel rules coming into effect on February 1. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

Meanwhile, people wanting to enjoy a pint in a pub or eat in a restaurant will need proof of a booster vaccine to gain entry, the Taoiseach has said.

Micheál Martin confirmed there will be a requirement to be triple vaccinated to enjoy an active social life, as it was revealed that new Digital Covid Certs will be issued to provide proof that people have a booster jab.

Minister of State for Public Procurement and eGovernment Ossian Smyth has said updated Digital Covid Certs will be sent via email from tonight to people who have had their booster shots.

📢 Digital COVID Certs will be updated soon to reflect your additional vaccine.
The EU is applying a maximum 9 mth validity to certs based on a completed primary vaccination course.
You can also request a DCC of Recovery if you’ve recovered in the last 6months via online portal pic.twitter.com/VtGHkOHOqR

— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) January 5, 2022

Minister Oisin Smyth told Newstalk Breakfast today that the updated digital certs are being issued from tonight as the EU will be introducing new rules on travel from February 1.

The process of sending out the new certs would commence tonight (via email) to everyone who had a booster shot, he explained. If for some reason a person does not have an email address then they will receive a text which will give step by step instructions on how to access the cert, he added.

When asked if people will be required to have a booster to enter pubs or restaurants, the Taoiseach said: “In the fullness of time, yes”.

Government decisions will have to be taken. It is very clear to us that the benefits of the booster are very significant right now, above all, preventing severe illness from Omicron.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has decided that passengers arriving in Ireland are no longer required to produce a negative Covid-19 test.

This is because the Omicron variant is already so prevalent in Ireland, responsible for 95% of cases.

Ministers were warned that more than 200,000 international travellers could be grounded if updated Covid certs are not issued before February 1, after which proof of a booster vaccine is required to enter EU countries.

The warning is contained in a confidential memo seen by the Irish Examiner.

Under EU rules, Covid certs will become invalid from February 1 for foreign travel if a person’s primary vaccination doses were more than nine months previous. 

It means thousands of Irish people potentially face being prevented from foreign travel unless their Digital Covid Certificates (DCC) are updated to show the additional jab.

The memo makes clear that while Ireland appears ready to update its Covid certs in the coming weeks, there is a risk of considerable disruption should the process hit any delays.

“Over 200,000 people vaccinated in Ireland on February 1 would be affected for the purposes of travel in the absence of a DCC being issued for the booster and additional doses,” the Cabinet memo states.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has said the levels of Covid infection remain “unprecedented” in Ireland and the next 10 days will provide further evidence on the severity of illness arising from the Omicron variant.

The bulk of the country’s sickest Covid-19 patients, in intensive care units, still have the Delta variant and not the highly contagious Omicron strain.

Micheál M

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