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Covid-19 Ireland 259 new cases of coronavirus confirmed, 27 in ICU

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There have been 259 new cases of Covid-19 reported by the Department of Health this afternoon.

There are now 76 patients with Covid-19 in Irish hospitals, of which 27 are in intensive care units.

A total of 3.1 million Covid-19 vaccines have now been administered in Ireland, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said today.

“We're now seeing strong benefits. Reduced sickness, hospitalisations, ICU admissions & mortality,” he added.

“Just 7pc of daily Covid-19 cases are now from ages 55+. Three-way strategy works, vaccines, testing/tracing and public health measures.”

This month, people in their 50s who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in May will get their second dose and be fully vaccinated.

But the gap between doses is at least eight weeks for most of those in their 60s who got a first dose of the AstraZeneca jab. This also applies to a significant number of people with underlying illnesses.

Everyone from the ages of 40 to 69 can now register for their first dose via the online vaccination portal.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin discussed the success of the recent lifting of restrictions.

“[It] was a very significant day for pubs and restaurants with the reopening of outdoor hospitality. And that of course illustrates the continuing progress we are making in the reopening of our society and economy, bringing thousands of people back to work.”

Speaking yesterday in Cork about whether indoor dining could be a possibility in July, he added that: “We need to take it one step at a time. At the moment we need to see how this will work out and we will evaluate this.

“Towards the end of the month we will make a further assessment.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is looking to continue the reopening of society, pushing for people to be back working in offices by August.

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“At the moment, we are planning a phased return to offices and workplaces from September,” the Tánaiste said.

“Provided the vaccine programme continues to gather pace and the virus remains under control, I believe August makes more sense than September.”

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