The Chief Medical Officer says it’s unlikely we’ll avoid a significant surge of Covid-19 in early January.
Public health officials don’t believe daily case numbers will fall any further this side of Christmas.
The seven-day incidence rate increased by 13% over the course of the last week and the 14-day rate is now at 80.4. It means Kilkenny’s 172.3 per 100,000 is more than double the nation’s figure while Carlow’s stands at 117.7.
242 new cases were confirmed yesterday evening, 22 of them in Kilkenny and five in Carlow.
Dr Tony Holohan says the level of socialisation over Christmas will likely lead to a challenging level of disease in the New Year.
He adds that the Vaccination Task Force is on track to submit its report to the government by Friday but says there’s still work to do.
St Luke’s General Hospital for Carlow and Kilkenny was treating 27 patients with Coronavirus last night.
For the second consecutive day there were no new cases and just one further suspected case there.
At University Hospital Waterford eight patients with the virus were being treated last night with one case confirmed in the past day while two more people are suspected of having Covid19.
Nursing homes, healthcare workers and over 75s will get the first access to COVID vaccines under plans going to cabinet today.
The first vaccinations on the island of Ireland will also be administered in Northern Ireland later but people in the Republic will likely be waiting until January.
Cabinet Ministers will approve recommendations from NPHET about who will get first access to whatever vaccines are approved for use in the EU.
Nursing home residents will be top of the list.
They’ll be followed by frontline healthcare workers who are in contact with patients.
Third in line will be those over 70 and this will be managed on a tiered basis based on age.
Those over 85 will get the vaccine first, followed by the 80-84, 75-79 and 70-74 age groups.
The precise detail of how that’ll be managed will be given by the vaccination roll-out taskforce which is due to report on Friday.
A significant communications strategy is also being prepared by the government to provide a fact and evidence based approach to answering questions and concerns from the public.
While the European Medicines Agency has until December 29th to decide whether to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use here, a government spokesman has said the Irish plan will be comprehensive ensure to ensure roll out very quickly once that happens.
A new Covid-19 testing centre opens at Knock Airport in Co Mayo today.
The walk-through centre will be operated by RocDoc, which currently runs drive-thru facilities at Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.
It’ll be available to air passengers, members of the public and local businesses.
Two tests are available – a PCR or LAMP – the latter is not recognised officially by the EU for use in travel.
In the UK
The UK health secretary says tomorrow’s rollout of the coronavirus vaccine will protect the most vulnerable and allow the country to start getting back to normal.
Matt Hancock says he’s asked the NHS to administer the jabs to those most in need, “as fast as it can be manufactured”.
But he admits there are still some unanswered questions about the inoculation.