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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C
latest figures

Varadkar: new group to replace NPHET 'imminent' as 21,789 Covid-19 cases reported

The latest figures were confirmed by the Department of Health this afternoon.

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has said a new group to replace NPHET is “imminent” as public health officials reported 7,729 PCR-confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

In addition, on Tuesday 22 March, 14,060 people registered a positive antigen test through the HSE portal.   

As of 8am today, 1,395 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of whom 55 are in ICU.   

It brings the combined total of Covid-19 cases reported today to 21,789.

Speaking earlier today the Tánaiste responded to questions about a new public health advisory body to replace NPHET, Varadkar did not specify a date when this would happen but said: “I understand it’s imminent.”

Varadkar said that any fresh advice on how to handle the latest spike in cases would have to come from the Government public health advisor.

“If that advice were to come, it would come from the Chief Medical Officer who is still in situ and obviously still commands his role.

“But as things stand, we are experiencing a second wave of Omicron. It’s driven by the Omicron plus variant, which is more infectious than the original Omicron strain and driven by the fact that these things do come in waves and there has been a reduction in restrictions the past few weeks and people are mixing more.

“So it isn’t a surprise that we’re seeing an increase in infections. What is reassuring is that many or even half of the people in hospital with Covid would have been in hospital anyway; they’re incidental findings,” he added. 

The Tánaiste said that there would be repeated waves and spikes in infections and said the Government do not want to be re-imposing restrictions to deal with the problem.

He added: “We have to keep monitoring the situation. We certainly don’t want to end up in a situation where we have to reimpose restrictions. This virus isn’t going to go away.

“We’re going to have more waves of this over the next couple of months and next couple of years. And we don’t want to be turning on and off restrictions. We do need to live with this virus.”

With reporting from Rónán Duffy. 

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