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Covid-19 Ireland: Major drop in cases reported by Department of Health

The Department of Health has confirmed 10,404 new cases of Covid-19.

There are 426 people in hospital who have tested positive for the virus, a rise of 48 since yesterday. Of these, 91 are in ICU, up four.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Holohan ewarned the public earlier today about avoiding crowded spaces as shoppers took advantage of the St Stephen’s Day bargains.

It comes as a record 13,765 cases of the virus were reported on Christmas Day, with the Department of Health warning that it anticipates “large volumes of case numbers over the coming period”.

Dr Holohan is asking people to shop online instead, where possible, and to stay away from stores that “does not feel safe” or is not adhering to public health guidance.

He said: “It is important that all of us continue to reduce our contacts and avoid crowded places, to the greatest extent possible, as we see the Omicron variant become the dominant variant of Covid-19 in Ireland.

“We know that this variant is more transmissible than even the highly transmissible Delta variant. As such, please do not socialise or meet indoors with people from other households.

“Avoid crowded places including retail environments. Choose to shop online where possible, queue outside and leave any retail environment that does not feel safe and that is not adhering to the public health guidance – implementing social distancing measures and queuing system, limiting numbers instore and staff wearing masks correctly (covering nose, mouth and chin).”

The CMO also appealed for people to avail of their Covid booster jab and to self-isolate if they have symptoms of the virus.

“If you are yet to receive a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine, then you should take every measure you can to protect yourself until you are eligible to receive it,” he said.

“This includes avoiding risky environments and keeping your contacts as low as possible. All of the available evidence indicates that a booster vaccine will offer good protection against infection with the Omicron variant.

“If you have travelled to Ireland from overseas it is important that you take an antigen test every day for five days.

“If anyone experiences any symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, then it is important to self-isolate and arrange a PCR test.

“Our test centres are very busy at the moment due to the high incidence of Covid-19 across the country; however, it is important that you continue to self-isolate until you receive the result of your PCR test and further information from the HSE.”

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