Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Tony Holohan has said reimposing Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland “cannot be fully ruled out” in the future.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is due to speak before the Oireachtas Health Committee today.
Holohan is set to outline an “uncertain trajectory” of the virus over the coming months, despite high levels of vaccination uptake.
The CMO is expected to further solidify the importance of employers allowing symptomatic employees self-isolate if they’re symptomatic over the coming winter months.
Holohan wrote a letter to TDs and Seantors of Ireland before today’s hearing.
“While incidence in those aged 19-24 and 13-18 years has fallen in recent weeks, we have noted an increase in testing rates and confirmed cases in those aged 5 to 12 years. This trend, and in particular the impact of the return to school and the opening of the third level sector, will continue to be monitored closely over the coming weeks,” Holohan said.
Holohan goes on to say that vaccination has changed the risk profile of the disease, but vaccination alone will not suppress transmission to a level which sees the reproductive rate fall below 1.
“This means that through this coming autumn and winter, possibly in the face of high levels of infection, we will remain dependent upon public understanding and buy-in to the basic public health measures in order to minimise opportunities for this virus to transmit,” he continued.
Holohan then went on to say: “We cannot predict with certainty the future trajectory of the disease and, consequently, we cannot fully rule out the possibility that the reintroduction of measures may be required in the future. We must continue to ensure our response is agile and flexible, with an ability to pivot rapidly and respond to any emerging threat.”
IMAGE – PA Images