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13th Dec 2021

No further Covid restrictions expected before Christmas, says Minister

Katy Brennan

Covid restrictions Christmas Ireland

NPHET will meet once again this week.

Government Chief Whip Jack Chambers says that he does not expect any additional Covid restrictions arising between now and Christmas.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1’s Today with Claire Byrne on Monday (13 December), Chambers said he does not foresee any further constraints on top of those already in place.

He also said school closures are not on the cards, with the additional funding being made available to schools standing as proof of that.

“I don’t believe [there will be more restrictions]. We’ve seen a stabilisation despite our case numbers being quite high,” he said.

“We all need to be additionally wary of our extra contacts as we go through December.”

Chambers added that the HSE will be putting an accelerated booster campaign in place this week and that it is necessary to provide certainty to people as to when will receive their booster shot.

“We will be using every resource,” he said.

“Changes are on the way. The HSE will set out an update to their plan.

“They will set out how to operationalise the vaccination of five to 11-year-olds, which I know parents want to know when this will start.

“They will also set out a date when over 40s will start and thirdly, how we scale up and add additional capacity to the vaccination programme.”

The National Public Health and Emergency Team (NPHET) is set to meet on Thursday.

Chambers’ comments come as concerns have been raised around international travel over the Christmas period.

Last week, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan told a meeting that the incidence of Covid-19 transmission in the community remains high, and the future of the new variant is unknown.

On Sunday, the Department of Health confirmed 4,667 new cases of Covid-19, with four additional cases of the Omicron variant, bringing the total number of cases  of the new variant to 10.

504 patients are hospitalised with the virus, of which 109 are in ICU.

Featured Image via Sam Boal /

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