NPHET member warns 5 July indoor dining reopening could be "a recipe for problems" amid Delta variant concerns 3 months ago

NPHET member warns 5 July indoor dining reopening could be "a recipe for problems" amid Delta variant concerns

"I think we need to be very cautious, this is a much more transmissible variant, at least 50% more."

A National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) member has warned that the proposed 5 July indoor dining reopening date could be "a recipe for problems" amid concerns over the Delta variant.

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On RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne on Tuesday, Dr Mary Favier stressed the need to be cautious as it was important to avoid a situation where hospitals were again being “overrun”.

When asked if the country should "press pause" on the further easing of restrictions, Dr Favier said that pushing back the easing of restrictions on indoor pubs and restaurants by two or three weeks “could make all the difference”.

"I think we need to be very cautious, this is a much more transmissible variant, at least 50% more, and particularly it's affecting younger people more," she said.

Dr Favier also said that there was increasing concern surrounding the Delta variant as it has been increasingly impacting younger people, adding that the symptoms can present as a cold in younger age groups.

This would be problematic due to the significant numbers of younger people working in the hospitality industry, Dr Favier continued.

It comes as the HSE warned members of the public of potential outbreaks of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Athlone in Westmeath amid "reports of house parties".

She said that it is a "concern" because the "UK did pause" their reopening due to the Delta variant.

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Favier added that reopening indoor dining too soon could be "a recipe for problems", adding that there may be a need to "re-look" at the July reopening until more Covid-19 vaccinations have taken place.

She also said that the suggestion that young people aged 19 to 24 should be vaccinated now instead of the 30 to 39 cohort had “merit” and was worth discussing to reduce the risk when indoor hospitality reopens.

She added that there had been “significant social solidarity” from the public in using age as the deciding factor in terms of the vaccination rollout.