Government "do not know" how long the Delta wave will last, says Leo Varadkar
A "pessimistic scenario" presented to government by NPHET said over 2,000 deaths could occur within a three-month period.
The government "do not know" how long the Delta wave will last or how bad it will be, according to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
He was speaking at a press conference following the government's announcement on Tuesday that indoor dining will be delayed.
It was confirmed that indoor activities - such as organised events, the return of service in bars and restaurants, training, group exercise, dance - will not proceed as planned, pending the implementation of a system to verify vaccination or immunity.
Government has said they will devise an implementation plan by 19 July.
Varadkar said it was a day for "hope" and "honesty", stating it was hopeful because "everything that is open will stay open and there'll be no new restrictions applying to those activities and places that are currently open".
However, he also stated there was a need to be honest with the public about "the situation we're in now".
He explained: "We simply do not know how bad, or for how long, the Delta wave will last. We know it will happen but we don't know how long it will last, we don't know how bad it will be."
According to the Tánaiste, NPHET presented government yesterday with four scenarios, including an optimistic scenario and a pessimistic scenario.
"If you take the optimistic one, we're talking about maybe 165 deaths over the next three months, roughly one or two a day," Varadkar said.
"On the other hand, the pessimistic scenario is totally different - over 2,000 deaths occurring over a three-month period, a wave as severe as any that we've experienced to date with hospitals coming under enormous pressure and ICUs in particular.
"Bearing in mind that the pessimistic scenario is a potential outcome, we've decided that we're going to be cautious... until we know more about this variant.
"What we do know is that it's more infectious. We do not know if it's more severe. And we do know that vaccines are not 100% effective, because no vaccines are."
For the full list of the changes to Ireland's reopening announced today, see here.