The Tánaiste has issued a stark warning to unvaccinated people that the pandemic is not over.
Speaking during Leader’s Questions, Leo Varadkar said we’re entering a new phase of the pandemic but the unvaccinated are at high risk.
While vaccines have weakened the link between cases and hospitalizations, it has not broken it, Mr Varadkar said, adding that the Delta variant, which now accounts for 80% of cases, is more infectious than before.
Ireland has had 200 people in ICU in the past two months, 199 of which are not fully vaccinated, the Tánaiste added.
“We’re seeing a major surge in cases, almost entirely among younger people and people who are not fully vaccinated,” he said.
“We as a government, and we as a parliament, have a responsibility now to protect those who are not fully vaccinated and I asked them over the summer, that least until you’re fully vaccinated, please avoid socialising indoors, please keep your social context to a minimum.
Mr Varadkar said that Ireland is heading into a “difficult couple of weeks” where we will see cases soar and hospitalisations and ICU admissions and deaths rise again.
“Sadly, people who are unvaccinated are more at risk in the next few weeks than at any point since this pandemic began,” he said.
“We need to get that message across to people, our hospitals and our health service is going to be busy again, I think we can avoid, and we certainly want to avoid any reintroduction of restrictions.
Mr Varadkar added that the government has asked Nphet to advise whether children’s summer camps can take place, which are currently not allowed.