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Latest figures 448 new Covid 19 cases confirmed, as Taoiseach asks public to 'refocus' personal behaviour

Micheál Martin said he understands that people are tired of the pandemic

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The Taoiseach has urged the public to be vigilant and focus on "personal responsibilities" ahead of the next wave of Covid-19 infections.

A spike in cases driven by the Delta variant is projected for August, but Micheal Martin believes this wave will be different from past ones.

The Department of Health has reported 448 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 this afternoon.

There are now 42 people in hospitals, 14 of which are in ICU.

Mr Martin said that while people are tired of the pandemic, refocusing on personal behaviour would help to mitigate the impact of the Delta variant, and protect progress already made.

He said: "I think it will be different in its impact to previous waves, as we've seen, every phase of this is different to the previous phase.

"We learn lessons from the previous phases. We have far more of the population vaccinated now.

"So what I would say to people is to be vigilant, to refocus in terms of our personal behaviour. It can be difficult, and people are tired of the pandemic, that I understand.

"But if we all refocus in terms of our own personal responsibilities and personal behaviours, we can go a long way to mitigate the impact of of the Delta variant, whilst we roll out the vaccination programme and try and maintain what we've already achieved so far this year.

"But the volume of cases worries me in terms of what we're hearing from the United Kingdom, in terms of the number of cases that can occur in the unvaccinated population, and the degree to which that high volume of cases could penetrate the wall that the vaccine gives us."

The Taoiseach said it remains to be seen how severe the impact of the Delta wave will be.

"The interesting issue will be the link between volume of cases and hospitalisation," he said.

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"It will take more time to establish with precision what that will be. We are concerned about it, and I'm concerned about it.

"But that said, we have significant numbers of the population vaccinated, we're going to really accelerate that in the coming month."

He also confirmed that Ireland has approached other European countries for excess vaccines, after agreeing a deal in principle for one million unwanted jabs from Romania.

"I thank the Romanian president for his engagement with me on this. He said, as a measure of simple solidarity is what he said to me, he was willing to help Ireland," he said.

"I had pointed out that, given our geographical position to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, in terms of the higher cases arriving there in terms of Delta variant, and our high uptake of vaccine, that we needed additional supplies.

"And he responded in that regard. We had an agreement in principle, we've also reached out to others.

"I'm not going to comment again until we can bring those to a conclusion."

There have been an additional 448 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, according to figures from the Department of Health.

There are currently 42 patients in hospitals with the disease, of whom 14 are intensive care units.

Daily case numbers may change due to future data review, validation and update, owing to the cyber attack on the HSE.

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