Ireland’s health authorities said 606 new Covid-19 patients were hospitalised across the country, an increase of 153 people or 33.77 per cent, compared to a week ago, putting increased pressure on hospitals.
Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer of the Health Service Executive (HSE), a state agency responsible for public health services, told local media that the rise in the number of hospitalisations is largely driven by a sub-type of the Omicron variant and over 70 per cent of the confirmed cases now in Ireland is caused by this sub-variant, reports Xinhua news agency.
He said that this new variant of the virus does not seem to be more virulent or aggressive though it is more transmissible.
The number of infected patients being treated in intensive care units has remained stable, Henry added.
He also said that over half of the Covid-19 patients in hospitals have not received their booster doses and more than a third have not even got vaccinated in the first place.
Last week, Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the Irish Department of Health, warned the government in a letter that “if the recent rising trend in hospitalised cases continues, we are likely to see increased pressure on the hospital system over the coming weeks”.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization has called on the government to reintroduce the mask mandate.
But Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Sunday that the public health advice received by his government at the moment is not to go back to wearing of face masks in public places.
However, he appealed to people “who are not vaccinated or haven’t taken their fourth vaccination” to get inoculated as it “works in terms of preventing serious illness and death”.
Currently, the Irish government is encouraging people aged above 65 to take the fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccines.
Ireland has reported a total of 1,578,284 Covid cases and 7,409 deaths.