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Hopeful signs Daily Covid-19 cases fall to 11,239 amid hopes 8pm pub closures will be axed

Today’s cases include 6,329 PCR confirmed Covid-19 infections and 4,810 positive antigen tests, which people carried out themselves and registered on the HSE portal.

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Optimism is growing that some Covid-19 restrictions around the hospitality and entertainment sectors may be lifted at the end of this month or early February following another fall in daily Covid-19 cases to 11,239 infections.

Last Saturday week daily cases reached a pandemic high of over 26,000, driven by the Omicron surge.

Today’s cases include 6,329 PCR confirmed Covid-19 infections and 4,810 positive antigen tests, which people carried out themselves and registered on the HSE portal.

There are 1,006 Covid-19 patients in hospital, an increase of 66 on yesterday and of whom 97 are in intensive, a rise of nine.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) meets on Thursday and there is growing speculation they could given the green light to moving the 8pm closing time for pubs, restaurants and other entertainment venues to midnight at the end of January or early February.

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Dr Tony Holohan. Picture: Collins

Dr Tony Holohan. Picture: Collins

Dr Tony Holohan. Picture: Collins

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, said: “As we continue to adjust to the latest changes to the public health advice relating to isolation and restriction of movements for cases and close contacts, it is important to remember that the most important change relates to mask wearing. It is now recommended that medical grade or FFP2 masks are used by:

  • anyone 13 years and older who is a confirmed case, a close contact or who has symptoms suggestive of Covid-19
  • over 60s and vulnerable people of all ages in indoor or crowded outdoor places
  • anyone visiting a healthcare setting or when visiting those who are vulnerable to Covid-19 in any setting.”

Dr Holohan said masks masks can play a key role in reducing transmission if made correctly, well fitted and worn properly – that is they cover the nose, mouth and chin.

“The best way to protect yourself against the most severe impacts of Covid-19 is to get your booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine. The evidence shows that people who have received a booster are less susceptible to infection and, if infected, are less infectious to others,” he said.

“According to our Amárach research, 68pc of those aged under 35 years, who have received a full, primary course of vaccination but are not yet boosted, said that they would receive a booster dose if they were offered it next week.

"It is important to remember that you don’t need to wait for the HSE to contact you about your booster appointment. You can book an appointment online on www.hse.ie, drop into your local pharmacy or contact your GP.”

Dr Holohan added that in the past week 46,000 children aged 5-11 have been vaccinated in Ireland.

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"Vaccines are a very safe and effective way to protect children from the risk posed by Covid-19 infection. The HSE are operating special child-friendly vaccine clinics,” he said.

Dr Holohan also urged the public to continue to “layer up on the basic public health measures, including vaccination, to protect yourself and your loved ones from infection”.

"Wear the appropriate mask recommended for you, practise social distancing and good hand hygiene, work from home unless necessary to attend in person, avoid crowds and ensure indoor spaces and public transport are ventilated by opening windows regularly,” he said.

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