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'Hold firm' ‘No plans’ for any new restrictions as 3,174 Covid cases announced

Leo Varadkar also told reporters in Dublin that it is “far too simplistic” to link the recent rise in cases to the reopening of nightclubs on October 22.

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is cautiously optimistic that there will be no return to lockdown restrictions in the near future. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is cautiously optimistic that there will be no return to lockdown restrictions in the near future. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is cautiously optimistic that there will be no return to lockdown restrictions in the near future. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

TÁNAISTE Leo Varadkar has ruled out reimposing public health restrictions solely on the basis of rising case numbers as over 3,000 new Covid-19 cases were announced today.

The Department of Health confirmed this afternoon a further 3,174 cases had been diagnosed.

As of 8am today, 460 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised, of whom 86 are in ICU.

Mr Varadkar also told reporters in Dublin that it is “far too simplistic” to link the recent rise in cases to the reopening of nightclubs on October 22.

He said it was “a matter of concern” that case numbers are high, but said that any reversal of the reopening would be informed by other factors including hospitalisations and ICU admissions, which he described as “stable”.

He said the “very high” case numbers are not translating into the same level of hospitalisations, ICU admissions or deaths as in earlier phases of the pandemic due to vaccination.

“We do have high case levels but the vaccine wall is holding, and the number of people in hospital is high and the number of people in ICU is high, but it's more or less where we would have expected it to be at this stage given the projections,” Mr Varadkar said.

“So it's a case of hold firm and stick with the plan: Booster vaccines, isolate if you've got symptoms, test trace, and wearing masks and social distancing where possible.”

He insisted there were “no plans for any new restrictions”,

Mr Varadkar said that the rise in new cases was among primary school children and people aged between 18 and 24.

However, he defended the decision to end isolation requirements for close contacts in schools, saying it was the view of Nphet that “schools are safe places for kids that most transmission is happening in homes rather than the schools”.

He said antigen testing in schools was under consideration.

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He added: “Case numbers are high and that is a matter of concern. But 3,000 cases a day, 4,000 cases a day doesn't mean what it meant last year or last winter because the vaccine wall is holding and we will never make a decision just based on case numbers, we will always have regard to other factors, including the number of people in hospital the number of people needing ICU care that is stable at the moment.

"So it's a case of sticking with the plan and staying the course.”

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