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crippling effect Ireland taking ‘mitigating actions’ amid Covid cases surge, health chief says

Paul Reid said there are currently 640 patients in hospital with Covid-19.

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People queuing while waiting for the Covid-19 vaccine outside Croke Park, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

People queuing while waiting for the Covid-19 vaccine outside Croke Park, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

People queuing while waiting for the Covid-19 vaccine outside Croke Park, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Ireland is “taking all mitigating actions” as the country copes with a surge in Covid-19 cases, the head of the HSE has said.

It comes as nearly 6,000 cases of the virus were confirmed in Ireland on Saturday.

Paul Reid, in a tweet on Saturday morning, said: “We’re surging across the whole health system and taking all mitigating actions.

“We value and appreciate everyone’s support.”

A further 5,959 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Ireland on Saturday, the Department of Health said.

According to the latest figures, there are 640 patients in hospitals with the disease, with 121 in intensive care.

A booster programme is currently being rolled out by the HSE, with 550,000 jabs administered so far.

Health officials have in recent days expressed concern about the potential for a further rise in Covid-19 cases and the crippling effect it could have on the fragile health system.

Some hospitals already foresee the cancellation of elective treatments in the coming days as pressure builds.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn, in a video posted on Twitter on Friday, said it was possible Ireland could record 200,000 cases of Covid-19 in December.

“The next few weeks will be difficult for everybody,” he predicted.

Earlier this week, the Government introduced a set of fresh measures it hopes will slow the spread of Covid-19.

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This includes ordering that pubs, nightclubs and restaurants should now have a midnight closing time while people are also being asked to work from home if possible.

It will take several days for health officials to be able to say if the new measures are having the desired effect and if Ireland can avoid the return of tougher restrictions, which have not been ruled out by Taoiseach Micheal Martin.

On Friday night, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said: “Anyone who is going to get Covid-19 in December has not yet been infected.

“Their infection is not inevitable and there is still time to prevent it by small changes in our behaviour.”

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