The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will meet today to consider its advice on this Friday’s planned reopening.
Almost all restrictions are due to be eased on Friday; however, a recent rise in case numbers has led to concerns some will remain in place.
The key issues under consideration are the reopening of nightclubs, the continued use of COVID certs in bars and restaurants, the return to normal opening hours and limits on large gatherings.
The Taoiseach has hinted the COVID certs will remain in use; however, he noted that the Government would not be “pressing the panic button” on the other restrictions.
A final decision on the reopening will be made at Cabinet tomorrow.
Infectious Diseases expert Professor Sam McConkey told Newstalk that opening everything on October 22nd would not be wise.
“I think there is unfortunately - and maybe the Government has contributed to this - a general narrative in some people’s heads that this is sort of, October 22nd everything opens up, Sars-CoV-2 is over and it is almost reckoning into Boris Johnson’s ‘Freedom Day,’” he said.
“I think that would be a really bad idea. I think we should delete that thought from our head.”
Yesterday 1,380 new cases were announced, with the five-day moving average now sitting at 1,833.
There were 470 patients in hospital with the disease – a 23% increase on the same day last week.
There were 74 in intensive care, which was the same figure recorded the previous week.
Meanwhile, the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) is also meeting today to consider expanding the rollout of booster vaccines.
Boosters are currently being given people aged over 80 and those aged over 65 in long term care.
The Taoiseach has said he expects a wider rollout to form a “very important part” of the COVID response moving forward – despite the World Health Organisation’s plea for countries not to roll them out until the vulnerable in poorer countries are protected.
Earlier this month, DCU Immunology Professor Christine Loscher told Newstalk there was no real evidence supporting the need for a population wide COVID vaccine booster campaign.
The charity Trócaire has said reland should not expand its vaccine booster programme any further until vulnerable people in the developing world are protected.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has made a direct appeal to Ireland not to give COVID 'booster' shots to the general population.