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Varadkar says steep rise in case numbers expected but 'we won't have to reimpose restrictions'

The link between case numbers and hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths has been “significantly weakened”, he said.

The Delta wave is 'a wave we can withstand', says Varadkar.
The Delta wave is 'a wave we can withstand', says Varadkar.
Image: Sam Boal

THE PUBLIC SHOULD expect to see a “steep rise” in case numbers but the government will not move to reimpose restrictions, according to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

Speaking to the media in Galway today, he said the important numbers to pay attention to now are hospitalisation and ICU numbers now.

The link between case numbers and hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths has been “significantly weakened”, he said.

While he acknowledged that hospitals will come under pressure in the coming weeks, the government believes it is one they can manage.

“Therefore we won’t have to reimpose restrictions – no one can say that for certain – but I can say it with confidence,” said Varadkar. 

He indicated it could be September before there is any further easing of restrictions.

There’s “common sense” in not moving forward with relaxing any more restrictions “at least” until the Delta wave peaks.

The Delta wave should peak in “a few weeks time”, he said, adding it is anticipated to peak next month or September.

The data from Scotland and the UK looks promising, said Varadkar stating the case numbers are now levelling off.

The Delta wave is “a wave we can withstand”, he added.

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Next week, an announcement is expected to be made on opening up the vaccine programme to those aged 16 and 17 years old, confirmed the Tánasite today.

Speaking about the percentage to hit for herd immunity, Varadkar said there is no “magic number”, stating that rather it is a continuum. 

Even with herd immunity, there will still be cases, he added, as there is with other diseases and viruses.

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