Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

15.47 6 Jul 2021


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The Tánaiste has said an increase to 1,000 to 2,000 new cases of coronavirus a day would not be a reason to panic.

Cabinet Ministers were presented with updated forecasts from the Department of Health this morning.

Leo Varadkar said that even a trebling of current ICU numbers would see less than 50 people in intensive care with COVID-19.

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As of this morning, there were 54 people in hospital being treated for the virus, with 16 people in ICU.

It comes as the Chief Medical Officer warned of the risk the Delta variant poses to the unvaccinated or those waiting for a second dose.

Dr Tony Holohan said the strain now accounts for more than 70% of Ireland’s cases.

There were 365 new cases of COVID-19 reported yesterday, with the CMO stating that the Delta variant "continues to present a threat".

His comments come amid growing fears from the Government that Ireland could experience 1,000 cases a day this month.

Ministers worry that case numbers could reach these high levels as soon as July 19th, the date when international travel returns in Ireland.

Professor Sam McConkey from the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland said he believes cases will rise in the coming months, but is uncertain as to whether they could reach such highs in less than two weeks' time.

Speaking today, Mr Varadkar said “we need to avoid getting back into a spiral of fear here”.

“The Delta wave is happening but it’s going to be different to other waves and that’s because of the vaccination program,” he said.

"1,000 cases a day or 2,000 cases a day in the next few weeks is not the same as 1,000 or 2,000 cases a day back in January.

"That's because the link between cases and infections and hospitalisations and deaths, that's what really matters.

The Tánaiste also criticised British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's reopening plan, describing it as "too risky".

The British government wants to lift England's COVID-19 restrictions from July 19th.

Boris Johnson confirmed measures like social distancing and the wearing of face masks will no longer be mandatory, despite acknowledging that they are "very far from the end" of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the Tánaiste thinks England's plans to completely reopen go too far.

“What was announced in England yesterday, in my view, was too risky,” Mr Varadkar said.

"The prospect of packed theatres in the West End and nightclubs in Manchester being packed to the rafters is one that would concern us quite frankly here in this country because if things go wrong in England it will have spillover effects in Ireland and on the other neighbours."

Additional reporting by Marita Moloney

Main image: Leo Varadkar arriving at Dublin Castle ahead of this morning's Cabinet meeting. Photo: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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