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Number of Covid-19 patients in hospital surpasses first wave peak

The number jumped from 817 on Tuesday to 921 by Wednesday morning.

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(Niall Carson/PA)

(Niall Carson/PA)

(Niall Carson/PA)

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has surpassed the peak of the first wave, the head of the Health Service Executive said.

The previous highest number of patients with the virus in hospital was 881 on April 15.

Paul Reid tweeted: “With 921 people in hospital, we’ve now exceeded the peak level of the 1st wave (881). 75 in ICU. Healthy people are getting very sick.

“Everyone gets how serious this is now. Let’s all do what’s needed, turn this around, save lives whilst the vaccine arrives. We have to.”

The number of coronavirus patients in hospital jumped from 817 on Tuesday to 921 by Wednesday morning.

Health officials have been sounding warnings over the sharp rise in people needing hospital treatment for the virus.

A National Public Health Emergency Team briefing on Monday heard that the number of people in intensive care units could rise to between 200 and 400 by the middle of January if people failed to take action.

It comes as the Cabinet meets to consider a range of new restrictions to curb the pandemic.

A subcommittee on Tuesday put forward a number of new proposals, including closing schools, construction sites and creches.

A new requirement for travellers arriving in Ireland to produce a negative coronavirus test, taken within 72 hours of their journey, is also to be considered.

It is understood the measure will apply to people arriving from Britain and South Africa from Saturday.

It comes after reports the more virulent UK variant of Covid-19 was found in around 25% of cases in Ireland, up from 10% previously.

I know it’s not easy for so many, but we must act together to protect people and our heath systemSimon Coveney

A separate variant, also believed to be more virulent, has also been discovered in South Africa.

Construction sites could be closed, apart from essential projects such as social housing or refurbishments.

Creches will also shut but will still be available for children of essential workers, and schools look set to close until the end of January at the earliest, as indicated by the Taoiseach.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney on Wednesday urged people to protect the health system.

Mr Coveney tweeted: “Today government makes further decisions on schools, childcare, construction sites, (international) travel, retail, vaccines, healthcare and financial supports in response to #COVID19.

“I know it’s not easy for so many, but we must act together to protect people and our heath system.”

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