Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has warned that the spike in Covid-19 cases is mainly due to an increase in socialisation among the population.
Addressing Fine Gael colleagues via Zoom, Varadkar more worryingly conceded that the spike in cases can also be attributed to waning vaccine immunity against the virus.
The Fine Gael leader announced that a greater emphasis on antigen testing, which Ireland has been notably slow to embrace, will help in slowing the spread of the virus.
The majority of people who are currently in Intensive Care Units (ICU) with Covid-19 remain unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated. However, half of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 are fully vaccinated.
He encouraged those who have not yet come forward for vaccination to do so, and strongly encouraged the public to continue to adhere to precautionary measures.
Speaking on RTE’s Prime Time last night, the Tánaiste was asked about hospitality sectors using the Digital Covid-19 Certificate, where a recent survey found that one-third of businesses were not adhering to the restrictions.
Varadkar highlighted that there has been over 45,000 inspections carried out at hospitality businesses since the measure was implemented during the summer.
He urged those in the hospitality sector to enforce the measure.
“We’ve had 45,000 inspections since last May and we’ve more inspectors and we can step them up, but we do need a level of self enforcement as well,” he said.
The Fine Gael leader pleaded with business owners, saying “we are in a precarious situation again” and urged them to work with Government to enforce this measure.
“That’s how you will stay open,” he continued.
Varadkar then asked the public to look out for themselves while entering these premises, and urged them to ask hospitality settings why they haven’t asked to see their Digital Covid-19 Certificate if that is the case.
“I’d also say to people, as well, if you’re going into a premises and somebody doesn’t ask you for your vaccine pass, ask them why not.”
Government announced an updated plan for reopening the country on October 22nd, after the original plan was altered due to a spike in cases and hospitalisations in recent weeks.
The use of the Digital Covid-19 Certificate will play a more pivotal role throughout the winter months, and Government announced enforcement of this measure will be increased.
IMAGE – PA Images