An infectious diseases expert says we can't keep delaying the easing of COVID-19 restrictions - saying a full ‘living with COVID’ plan is now needed.
However, Professor Jack Lambert says vaccines aren’t the sole ‘magic bullet’ to stop the pandemic - and other public health measures will still be needed to limit spread of the virus.
He was speaking after the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital surpassed 300 on Sunday for the first time since March.
The five-day moving average of new cases is currently 1,918, with 1,688 new cases reported on Sunday.
The Government is set to publish a roadmap by the end of the month, which will include details on the next phase of lifting COVID-19 restrictions.
It comes amid widespread frustration and anger among the entertainment and live events industry about the lack of progress on easing restrictions.
Jack Lambert - Professor of Infectious Diseases at UCD - says despite the increase in cases, the Government can’t delay easing restrictions forever.
He said: “COVID is serious - I’m not downplaying that. I take care of patients in the ICU. But I think there is a lot of collateral damage.
“We do need a plan, and we can’t just keep delaying - delaying is not a plan, and lockdown is not a plan. Lockdown and delaying, to me, shows a lack of a plan for living with COVID.”
Professor Lambert said vaccines are very important, but all the other COVID mitigation measures also need to be in place alongside the vaccine rollout.
He stressed that the Delta variant has made the virus much more transmissible, so it’s much easier to catch.