Lockdown Ireland: Tony Holohan not expected to recommend further restriction after Nphet meeting this week

Lockdown Ireland Tony Holohan not expected to recommend further restriction

The chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan is not expecting to recommend additional restrictions after the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) meets this Thursday.

r Holohan told TDs that he is not expecting to recommend additional measures and that the focus is on enforcing existing measures.

It is expected that Public Health will review the measures which came in last week after a period of two weeks since they were first introduced to see how effective they have been.

It comes as Minister Eamon Ryan said said earlier today that no decisions have been made on a possible lockdown as Government would prefer to see the consequences of the recent restrictions.

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In a meeting with Opposition TDs, Dr Holohan reportedly said that while he is hopeful, there can be “no guarantees” given the current spread of the virus.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said that deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn told TDs that new anti-viral drugs are showing up to 50pc reduction in hospitalisations.

According to Mr Cullinane, TDs were told that the medicine is unlikely to be available for use in Ireland until the end of January next year.

Nphet also said that it is likely that boosters will be expanded to more people in the future.

Following the last-minute pulling of a memo on subsidised antigen testing which was due to go before Cabinet today, Dr Holohan said that antigen testing had a role to play.

People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny said that Dr Holohan told TDs that antigen tests are about circumstances and interpretation and using the tests in the best circumstances is important.

He added that it is clear there is an important role for them.

TDs were also given the following statistics on vaccine take up among young people: 66pc among people aged 12 to 15; 80pc among ages 16 to 17; 82pc among ages 18 to 24; 80pc among games 25 to 29 and 86pc among ages 30 to 34.

Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said that there is “more work” to be done on improving vaccination take up as younger age groups would be the ones doing more socialising.

Last week a midnight curfew was brought in for restaurants, pubs and nightclubs as people were encouraged to reduce their social contacts and work from home where possible.

“I think a lot of people have reacted to the decisions last week, a lot of people have cancelled events, have held back, and I think that was the signal to the country that a lot of people have taken up,” Mr Ryan told RTÉ on his way into cabinet today.

“We are reducing our socialisation, reducing our contacts.

“I think we said at the time – and I think it’s good medical science – wait three weeks to see what exactly is the consequence of that.

“It is quite a significant change that occurred last week, around the country, everyone knows it.

“Right across the board, people are rightly restricting their movements so I’d prefer to wait and see the consequences of that and then we’ll make further decisions.”

The Green Party leader said time is needed to get the subsiding of antigen testing right. 

The Irish Independent reported today that with the proposed subsidy tests will cost up to €4, depending on the retail price.

Sinn Féin’s health spokesperson David Cullinane said it’s “incredible” that there’s still no “coherent plan” for the use of antigen tests a year after the expert panel has been set up.

Meanwhile Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed in the Dáil today that antigen testing will be extended to créches and Montessoris.

Responding to Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond, Mr Martin said that testing will be “fine tuned” for the “early childhood sector”.

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