Ireland has made tremendous progress in the fight against Covid-19 over the past few months.
Cases have fallen sharply despite the recent reopening of the outdoor hospitality and retail division.
Meanwhile, the number of hospital admissions has also decreased in recent weeks as the country remains on track to end the lockdown completely.
However, the latest delta variant first identified in India is proving to be a dark cloud over reopening plans.
Here’s what you need to know
Currently, the delta variant that is understood to be more transmissible has not posed any significant risk to Ireland’s plans to end the lockdown.
However, there have been concerns expressed that the race between vaccinating people and limiting the spread of the new alternative cannot be in place over the next few weeks.
Across the Irish Sea in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been forced to announce a four-week delay to lifting the lockdown after a spike in delta variable cases.
The number of hospitalizations has surged in recent weeks due to the divergence that has worried health experts and political leaders.
While Ireland will be watching closely how the UK deals with the delay, it remains unclear whether or not the alternative will affect plans here.
The next set of restrictions is scheduled to be lifted including the return of indoor dining on July 5.
There are a total of 237 cases of the Delta Covid-19 variant on the island of Ireland.
The latest HSE update told us the republic has 126 cases — while 111 cases have been confirmed in the North as of Sunday.
Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney has warned that stricter travel restrictions between Ireland and the UK may need to stem the spread of the delta variable here.
The COVID-19 The delta variant that was first identified in India has raised major concerns about plans to end the lockdown in the UK due to the high level of transmission.
The UK has seen a spike in hospitalizations in recent weeks as the country scrambles to vaccinate the rest of the population before the virus spreads further.
Concerns have been expressed about how the variable might affect plans to reopen Ireland.
Simon Coveney on RTÉ’s This Week spoke about the most contagious type of delta from Covid-19 in the UK.
«The numbers are worrying and we have to do what we can within reason to do what we can to protect the people here.»
«I don’t want to announce anything today but we are looking into this seriously,» he said.
“Quarantine periods that are potentially longer, especially for people who have not been vaccinated,”
Meanwhile, reports circulated that Cabinet figures said plans to reopen society more widely on July 5 would not be affected by the prospect of a highly prevalent version of Delta in Ireland.