210 cases of the Delta variant confirmed in Ireland as HSE chief warns the figure will "go up"
"There's no reason why we would be any different from other countries in seeing this take off."
There have been 210 confirmed cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Ireland as of 22 June, according to the HSE.
Speaking at a briefing on Thursday afternoon, the health service's chief clinical officer Dr Colm Henry said it is believed 20% of Covid-19 cases in the country are now the Delta variant and that this figure will rise.
Subject to the public health situation at the time, 5 July is the date on which indoor services at pubs and restaurants can resume.
However, the emergence of the Delta variant of Covid-19 has led to fears that this return could be postponed.
Discussing the variant, Henry said: "Ireland - we're at 210 cases. Our analysis reckons about 20% of cases are now Delta. It's going to go up for sure.
"There's no way it's going to stay at this figure. There's no reason why we would be any different from other countries in seeing this take off.
Henry also stated that the mean age of the Delta cases was 31 and that 51% were from contact with a case in a diverse range of settings, while 27% were travel-related.
16% were from community transmission, though Henry said that as the variant "begins to take hold" the number of cases related to community transmission will rise.
Earlier on Thursday, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said he was "cautiously optimistic" that the country will be able to further ease Covid-19 restrictions on 5 July, despite concerns regarding the Delta variant of the virus.
Asked if he was "cautiously optimistic" the easing of restrictions would proceed as planned, Ryan responded: "I am but at the same time it is being cautious.
"At all stages in this, that caution has been the appropriate approach. It has served us well.
"We will listen to the health advice next Wednesday and make the decisions on the Thursday."