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Latest figures Public urged to not lose sight of the 'danger' Covid-19 poses as 575 more cases and no new deaths reported

There is now a total of 227,316 confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland.


Dr Ronan Glynn (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Dr Ronan Glynn (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Dr Ronan Glynn (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn has urged the public not to lose sight of the "danger" Covid-19 poses.

It comes as 575 additional cases of the virus and no new deaths were reported this evening.

There is now a total of 227,316 confirmed cases of the virus here, while the death toll stands at 4,534.

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said: “While there has been a very understandable focus on the vaccine programme over recent days, we must not lose sight of the danger that Covid-19 continues to pose.

"While, in time, vaccines will have a very significant positive impact on Covid, they will not stop a further wave of disease over the coming weeks. We are seeing this play out across Europe with many countries now experiencing pressure on their hospital and critical care capacities. We must not let this happen here.

“Together, we have done an extraordinary job of driving down incidence of disease. These efforts are cause for real hope and, if we can return to decreasing indicators of disease, we can continue to protect our loved ones and look forward to much brighter days ahead.”

Of the cases notified today, 232 are in Dublin, 48 in Meath, 41 in Tipperary, 38 in Kildare, 30 in Galway and the remaining 186 cases are spread across 20 other counties.

As of 8am today, 360 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, of which 85 are in ICU.

As of March 12, 606,904 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland with 443,092 people having received their first dose, and 163,812 people receiving their second.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the Nphet Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said: “I noted last week that we are also seeing an increase in mobility, and, while some increase is to be expected due to many returning to school, we must continue to be very cautious. Now is not the time to be socialising, it’s just too risky.”

“We must do all we can to continue to suppress this virus and to ensure that as many people as possible get to benefit from vaccination over the coming months. Each of us knows the range of tried and trusted tools at our disposal.

"If we continue to keep our distance, wash our hands, wear face masks and stay home we will continue to drive down transmission of this disease.”

Professor Karina Butler, Chair of National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) said health officials are continuing to review the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“All vaccines authorised for use Ireland are proven to be very effective against severe Covid-19 disease. The safety of vaccines is underpinned by the ongoing monitoring that the NIAC, the HPRA and the EMA undertake on a rolling basis," she said.

Professor Butler added: “We will continue to monitor the situation relating to COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca and if we can be satisfied that these events are coincidental and not caused by this vaccine, we will reassess the situation and our recommendations.

"The HPRA will keep NIAC fully informed as the EMA investigation progresses and we, in turn, will ensure to keep you updated.”

It comes as 30,000 people due to get AstraZeneca jab this week will have their vaccinations rescheduled in the next few weeks.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said he hopes most of the people whose vaccines are being deferred will receive their first dose by the end of the month without affecting the rollout of vaccine to other people.

Use of the jab was suspended on Sunday as a precaution after reports of serious clotting in adults in Norway which left four people in hospital.

Mr Donnelly said he understood that people were naturally “disappointed” by the deferral of their appointments but that the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) had acted “decisively and quickly” in response to new information late on Saturday night about the Norway cases.

He added that he had no hesitancy in temporarily suspending use of the AstraZeneca jab and that he hopes it will only be for a short period.

Mr Donnelly told RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland programme: “Hopefully the 30,000 for this week will be rescheduled very, very quickly.

“So will everybody be done within the time left in March? I’d say pretty close, possibly, maybe there may be a bit of spillover into April, but very, very quickly.

“We should be able to reschedule them and in so doing, not have to delay other people. So in other words, do the 30,000 at the same time as people who we were planning on doing in the coming weeks as well.”

Mr Donnelly defended the State’s vaccination programme, highlighting that 99% of people over the age of 85 have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine within a three-week period as planned.

“The vast majority of the target groups for the GPs are being done,” he said.

“For example the group 85 and older, there was a three-week period for the GPs to vaccinate that group.

“And there was understandably some focus on some of the things that didn’t work which is absolutely fair and lessons needed to be learned, but within that three weeks 99pc of that cohort were still vaccinated.”

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