Number of Covid cases has "stabilised" - Holohan

Covid-19 vaccine

The number of cases of Covid-19 has "stabilised" in recent weeks, according to the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan.

There have been 1,586 new cases of Covid-19 reported by the Department of Health.

There are 298 people in hospital who have tested positive for the virus, down 10 since yesterday. 56 of these are in ICU, down three over the past 24 hours.

In a video message on Twitter, Dr Tony Holohan said that the incidence rate in children of primary school age has "fallen right back down".

Under a change in the contact tracing system, most primary school children and those in childcare facilities who are identified as close contacts of a confirmed case of Covid-19, but have no symptoms, no longer have to restrict their movements, or get tested.

Dr Holohan said that the stabilising case rate "continues to show that the school environment, and particularly the classroom environment, is a safe and appropriate environment".

He said the measures that have been taken in the school environment are "helping to keep children safe and to preserve and protect the ongoing provision of education".

The Chief Medical Officer also said that it is more important people are aware of the risks as outdoor socialising becomes more difficult due to wintery weather conditions.

"As we meet up indoors, we need to try and be conscious of the extra measures we can take to protect ourselves," he said.

"First and foremost, we keep emphasizing vaccination. Even though over 90% of people over the age of 16 have been fully vaccinated, there are still some people out there who are not yet vaccinated.

"So, if you're one of those people, or if you have influence over people who have yet to be fully vaccinated or have their second dose, now is the right time to come forward for that vaccination.

Dr Holohan said that people should continue to wear a face mask in indoor settings like shops, on public transport and in hospitality venues.

He also said that people with "cold-like symptoms" should stay home, avoid meeting other people and contact their GP if concerned.

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