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leo's pledge Leo Varadkar says Ireland is ‘all ok for next stage of re-opening on Monday’

Restrictions to be eased include live music at weddings, organised indoor events and all religious ceremonies at 50pc capacity

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Leo Varadkar. Credit: Gareth Chaney

Leo Varadkar. Credit: Gareth Chaney

Leo Varadkar. Credit: Gareth Chaney

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that vaccination of under 35 is “really working now” as the next phase of reopening will begin on Monday.

On social media he said: Cases have plateaued/falling. Rise in patients in hospital and ICU slowing. All ok for next stage of reopening on Monday.”

It comes as the HSE operates walk-in Covid vaccination clinics in locations across the country today.

The clinics are open for people aged 12 to 15 and older. Most of the clinics are for the first or second doses of the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine.

HSE Chief Paul Reid said that: “One of the positives from Covid-19 has been the innovation and mobilisation across the public service.

"All our key agencies and services responded collectively in a way to protect the public throughout. I’m proud of the continued role played by the wider health service too.”

Figures yesterday showed that 1,414 cases of Covid-19 were reported.

Meanwhile the HSE today urged people on social media: “If you’re leaving home today, please remember to follow public health guidelines – keep your distance from anyone you meet, wear a face covering indoors or in crowded outdoor spaces, and keep washing those hands. We can do this.”

Restrictions set to be eased on Monday, September 6 include live music at weddings, organised indoor events and all religious ceremonies at 50pc capacity.

Organised outdoor events with 75pc capacity where all attendees are fully vaccinated or accompanied minors can also go ahead.

Cinemas and theatres can open with a capacity of 60pc for people who are fully vaccinated, immune or accompanied minors.

There are currently 363 people in hospital with Covid-19 across the country and 52 are in ICU.

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Meanwhile, according to The Irish Times there has been an increase in demand for close contact testing in schools since the return to the classroom in recent days.

Niamh O’Beirne, head of the HSE’s testing and tracing service, said that close contacts are being tested in 631 schools across the country since the reopening last week. Pupils at more than 100 primary schools have been tested every day since Tuesday of this week, and 75 secondary schools had students tested on Thursday.

They said by lunchtime on Friday, 29 secondary schools had been set aside for close contact testing.

This compares to an average of 45 schools per day requiring close contact tracing in May, the last time both primary and secondary schools were open.

Ms O’Beirne told the Irish Times that the high testing demand among school-based close contacts was due to the level of Covid-19 in the community, rather than evidence of spread within schools.

“These children caught Covid in the community and went into school with it, they did not get Covid in school,” she said. “There’s high incidence in the community … 30 per cent of all our cases are under the age of 18 today,” she said.

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