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Number of people hospitalised with virus at 345 as EMA set to decide on AstraZeneca vaccine

The number of people in ICU now stands at 82.

Updated Mar 18th 2021, 11:50 AM

THE NUMBER OF people hospitalised with Covid-19 in Ireland continues to drop with 345 hospitalised cases as of 11am this morning. 

The number of people in ICU now stands at 82. 

There were 19 new admissions to hospital in the last 24 hours up to 8pm and 25 discharges. 

It comes amid increasing concerns about a rise in infection after health officials confirmed a further 557 new Covid-19 cases and 17 deaths. 

The highest number of cases reported yesterday was in Dublin (229), Kildare (58) and Donegal (34). 

The Taoiseach, meanwhile, has said health authorities here will immediately endeavour to begin using the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab again if the European Medicines Agency gives the vaccine the all clear following a meeting today.

A number of countries across Europe, including Ireland, paused use of the vaccine in recent days following reports by the Norwegian Medicines Agency of blood clots in a number of patients.

No causal link was established between the jab and the patients developing the clots but Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said the decision to pause use of the vaccine had been made on a precautionary principal.

World Health Organization experts on Tuesday recommended countries continue to use the AstraZeneca vaccine, but said they were looking into its safety.

According to the most recent figures up to Sunday, 620,580 vaccine doses have been administered in Ireland. 

Of these, 455,182 were first doses with 165,398 people now fully vaccinated.

The EU yesterday has announced plans to set up a travel certificate to help restore freedom of movement within the bloc for citizens inoculated against the coronavirus.

The certificate will show “whether the person has either been vaccinated, or has a recent negative test, or has recovered from Covid, and thus has antibodies,” EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said.

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“With this digital certificate we aim to help member states reinstate the freedom of movement in a safe, responsible and trusted manner.”

The idea is to allow inoculated tourists to get around restrictions on non-essential travel that have spread across Europe, as a second and third wave of Covid-19 infections brought much intra-EU travel to a standstill.

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