Nearly 15% of Ireland's Covid cases believed to be due to Omicron, says CMO
"As we move closer to Christmas, we must try to reduce the number of people we meet."
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan has said that 14% of Ireland's Covid-19 cases are believed to be due to the Omicron variant.
He made the comments as 3,887 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the country.
As of 8am on Tuesday, 493 patients with the virus are hospitalised, of which 109 are in intensive care.
— Department of Health (@roinnslainte) December 14, 2021
"Results today suggest that approximately 14% of our cases are due to the Omicron variant," Holohan said in a statement accompanying the figures.
"In line with the experience of many other countries, we can expect this proportion to rise rapidly over the coming days."
Results today suggest that approximately 14% of our cases are due to the #Omicron variant.
In line with the experience of many other countries, we can expect this proportion to rise rapidly over the coming days.
— Dr Tony Holohan (@CMOIreland) December 14, 2021
"The goal now is to limit the spread of Covid-19 through our tried and tested preventive measures.
"These measures can protect us and our families and will allow time for the booster vaccination programme to take effect.
"This means that as we move closer to Christmas, we must try to reduce the number of people we meet, avoid crowds and work from home unless it is essential to attend in person.
"I encourage anyone eligible for a booster vaccination to take that opportunity. Boosters are proven to be effective in restoring protection against all variants of Covid-19."
On Monday, he had stated that 11% of cases were estimated to be due to the new strain.
Meanwhile, earlier on Tuesday, Professor of Immunology at DCU Christine Loscher stated that the Government should consider closing schools early for Christmas break on Friday to limit the spread of the virus.
"Remember if Omicron is two to three times more transmissible - we know that it's 10 or 11% of cases at the moment," she explained on Today with Claire Byrne.
"That's going to increase next week, that could be up to 50 to 60% next week and we have the biggest cohort of unvaccinated people i.e. children - we will have them mixing to a huge extent coming up to Christmas before we do intergenerational mixing.
"So, I think in terms of just being sensible and preparing for the best possible scenario after Christmas and opening schools, I really think that we should consider, you know, closing schools on Friday.
"Every child then will have at least seven or eight days of very minimal exposure to the virus and other children and mixing."
Main image via Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie