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24 Jan 2022

Taoiseach says lockdown not being looked at as hospitals come under 'widespread pressure'

Taoiseach says lockdown not being looked at as hospitals come under 'widespread pressure'

Micheál Martin maintains the situation with spiking cases is serious but said booster campaign is already showing promising results.

The Taoiseach has said that Ireland is not looking at implementing a lockdown for people who are unvaccinated.

Speaking in Navan today, Micheál Martin said that he would look at how Austria implements its lockdown for the unvaccinated, which starts today, but that Ireland is in a very different position with 93 per cent fully vaccinated compared to Austria's 65 per cent.

Mr Martin did maintain that the situation with spiking cases is serious but added the booster campaign was already showing promising results, with a reduction in serious illness among those in their 80s.

The Cabinet Committee for Covid-19 is due to meet later today to discuss recommendations on what measures should be taken to try and curb the rising numbers as well as NPHET's advice on the extended use of digital certs in different sectors.

Meanwhile, Ireland's hospital system is reaching full capacity and is now under widespread pressure all over the country.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, HSE's Chief Operations Officer Anne O'Connor said there is "a worrying impact" of the virus in hospitals, with just 94 beds available in hospitals across the country, adding that it is now "inevitable" that more scheduled care will be cancelled.

"We are reaching a point where it is becoming difficult. In reality, there is only so much we can do as a health service", she said.

She continued to say that there has been a 25 per cent rise in admissions in the last week with ICU admissions up 41 per cent adding that people who are coming into the hospital with the virus are much sicker with 81 out of 117 patients requiring ventilation.

Dr O'Connor urged people not to attend emergency departments where possible and for older people to be supported at home, adding staff are very worried and cannot see where the surge will end.

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