Ireland does not rule out restrictions as rising COVID-19 cases ‘extremely’ concerning

More than 90% of adults in Ireland are vaccinated, but the country is experiencing climbing infections. [EPA-EFE / AIDAN CRAWLEY]

Further restrictions cannot be ruled out, Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said, noting that he is “extremely concerned” about the rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.

More than 90% of adults in Ireland are vaccinated, but the country is experiencing climbing infections. The Department of Health reported 3,805 cases on Sunday, and the head of Ireland’s health service, Paul Reid, described the COVID-19 situation in hospitals as “grim”.

The government’s COVID-19 subcommittee is set to meet Monday for a “stock take”, to consider the situation and potential next steps, including pausing people’s return to work.

Ireland relaxed almost all pandemic restrictions in October after a phased lifting of rules.

“Nothing can be ruled out”, Martin told reporters on Sunday, when asked about a potential return to lockdown. The roll-out of booster shots and the expansion of antigen testing would help, he said, but he also encouraged people to reduce their levels of socialisation.

Some politicians have called for antigen tests to be made available for free, but Martin said on Sunday that the government did not see this happening.

(Molly Killeen | EURACTIV.com)

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