“If we all collectively behave and what I mean by that is just watch ourselves, [be a] bit more cautious about how we go about in congregations and so on like that, we can pull this back - particularly if people get vaccinated,” Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told The Anton Savage Show, as case numbers continue to rise.
On Friday, the five-day moving average of new COVID cases rose to 2,124 - a trend Mr Martin said had left him “concerned”.
Asked whether the Government was sending people mixed messages, having just given nightclubs permission to reopen, Mr Martin said it was up to individuals:
“The market is changing itself. In other words, out on the streets, you look at half 11 some nights, there’s hundreds and hundreds of young people. [It’s] natural, they’re out enjoying themselves.
“And there’s an argument for saying, let’s try this in a regulated environment, where we have contact tracing and so on.
“But that said, we will review this on a constant basis.
“And I think people generally now know, given their experience of the pandemic from the beginning, they know when numbers go up, there’s an almost instant alarm bell goes off in the mind and people change their behaviour.”
Mr Martin also said that the Government’s rollout of booster shots will help control the virus going into winter:
“Boosters will work,” he said.
“And will give the extra protection that people require and the research is increasingly showing that… Certainly, for the over 60’s I think this will be significant... With high cases you’re watching how many get hospitalised, how many get very sick and I think the booster will prevent that in the older age cohort.”
Echoing remarks made by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Mr Martin predicted that COVID could be with us in the long-term, meaning annual booster shots would be necessary:
“I actually think, into the future we’ll be looking at an annual [shot], I might be wrong, I’m not an expert but you could be looking at an annual COVID vaccine for the time being. Just like we have the flu vaccine.”
Main image: Micheál Martin in September 2021. Picture by: Julien Behal.