Micheál Martin urges people to "dismiss" notion that Covid-19 is similar to flu 2 months ago

Micheál Martin urges people to "dismiss" notion that Covid-19 is similar to flu

"That's a very dangerous sort of idea that gets floated every now and again. It's not."

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has urged people to "dismiss" the notion that Covid-19 is similar to the flu, adding that testing numbers are "significantly up" compared to last week.

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Speaking to reporters at Government Buildings on Monday, he said that people need to "dismiss" the notion that Covid-19 is similar to the flu.

"That's a very dangerous sort of idea that gets floated every now and again. It's not", he said.

He added that while the country is "making a lot of progess" with the vaccine rollout, there is still a need for caution surrounding the Delta variant.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has confirmed that half of Ireland's adult population will be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of today.

Confirming the news on Twitter on Monday, Donnelly said: "By the end of today, half our adult population will have full vaccination.

"This will continue to grow in the days and weeks ahead. It's important that everyone continues to ensure they get their second dose."

It comes as a public health expert has said that he believes that a fourth wave of the Covid-19 virus has already begun in Ireland as case numbers climbed to their highest in over two months on Sunday.

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Speaking to Newstalk after 562 new cases of the virus were reported across Ireland on Sunday, Professor Sam McConkey said that it was already "the beginning of the fourth wave".

The Infectious Disease Specialist and head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences said that he is hopeful the wave will be "much less traumatic" than the first three.

"My views for the last 15 or 16 days cases have gradually started to rise, we have an R [number] currently of about 1.2 - and this is the beginning of a fourth wave," he said.