Taoiseach says that «feeling deterministic about the progression of a delta variable» will have «implications» on the constraints

Taoiseach Micheál Martin spoke of a «sense of inevitability about the progression of a delta variable» which would have «implications for the kind of constraints one might have».

He was speaking ahead of a summit of European Union leaders at which the 27 member states discussed the spread of the more contagious delta variant that threatens to increase the number of infections among unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people.

Martin said the variant is expected to become the dominant strain across Europe, which could have repercussions for the restrictions.

«There is a sense of inevitability about the progression of the delta variant in general, and that obviously has implications for the kind of constraints one might have,» Martin said.

The government is studying ways to speed up vaccination, apart from shortening the interval between AstraZeneca doses, to cover more of the population, according to Taoiseach.

«We will continue to explore other avenues if we can speed up the vaccine program because vaccines will provide very clear protection from the data.»

Transport Secretary Eamonn Ryan said the level of hospitalization linked to Covid-19 will be the main yardstick when making decisions about reopening next week, and Mr Ryan has also indicated he would prefer to stick to European rules on travel, rather than differ. Even if public health officials advise against non-essential travel for unvaccinated people.

basic scale

The Green Party leader said Thursday when asked about the key metrics when the government decides to reopen society.

Besides hospitalization, he also suggested that spreading the disease to a wider population would be important.

«It’s the level of hospital treatment, the numbers in the intensive care unit, the incidence of cases, it’s the key metrics,» he said. Ryan, who was launching the first services under Dublin’s redesigned bus network, which will operate from Howth and Malahide on Sunday, said it was too early to say whether the government would delay indoor dining plans to reopen on July 5.

«We have to be careful, we have to look at the numbers right now, but the other analysis is that the vaccination plan is really working, the volume of vaccinations in recent weeks has been enormous, and there is real protection from that,» he said.

He said the government’s plan is to resume non-essential travel from July 19, when the EU Green Certificate will come into operation. Under the plan, those who have been vaccinated, who have recovered from a recent Covid infection, or who have negative PCR tests will be allowed to do non-essential travel. However, Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer and head of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), has previously indicated his view that travel should be related to vaccination status.

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«We’re part of the European Union, and we agreed it’s best to go with the EU’s approach,» Ryan said. While the government will «clearly» listen to Nphet and the European Center for Disease Control, he said «there is strength in a joint approach».

“Travel includes another jurisdiction on every occasion when you leave a country, and doing it in a standard and uniform way really makes sense, it makes it predictable, standardized and easier to manage rather than having different rules for different countries at different times. It is much better to take the European approach.”

Travel

Asked if he expects advice from Nphet on re-starting travel on July 19 next week, at the same time he is giving advice on reopening indoor dining and other activities on July 5, he said he expects «their advice next week will be more likely in the future.» It concerns July 5.

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