Taoiseach calls on public to "behave" in order to avoid Covid surge
"We can pull this back."
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has urged the public to "collectively behave" in a bid to avoid a further spike in Covid cases in the weeks and months ahead.
On Saturday, the Department of Health confirmed 2,427 new cases of the virus.
As of 8am on Saturday morning, 449 patients are in hospital in relation to Covid-19.
93 of those patients are in ICU.
The Taoiseach has underlined that the latest phase of the country's reopening will be reviewed on a "constant" basis.
Speaking on The Anton Savage Show on Newstalk on Saturday morning – recorded on location at the Cork Jazz Festival on Friday evening – the Taoiseach was asked about the current NPHET modelling status.
"There's the optimistic model, there's the pessimistic model," he began.
"You could be looking at up to 150 in ICU by the end of November. That would be serious, obviously, in terms of the wider impact on the health service.
"But if we all collectively behave – what I mean by that is just watch ourselves, [be a] bit more cautious in how we go about in congregations and so on like that – we can pull this back.
"Particularly if people get vaccinated," the Taoiseach continued.
"What's been interesting this week is the numbers [that] have come forward, and I appreciate that – people have turned up for the first time."
Asked if a "mixed message" has been sent with the return of nightclubs and increased socialising, the Taoiseach spoke in favour of regulating what he viewed as a pre-existing situation.
"What was also becoming obvious; people were doing their alternative enjoyment as well," Martin replied.
"Even Tony [Holohan] would have pointed out to me; the market is changing itself. The streets, some nights at half eleven there was hundreds and hundreds of people, young people – natural, they're out enjoying themselves and so on – and there was an argument for saying, 'Let's try this in a regulated environment where we have contact tracing and so on'.
"But, that said, we will review this on a constant basis. I think people, generally, now know - given their experience of the pandemic from the beginning – they know when numbers go up; there's an almost instant alarm bell [that] goes off in the mind and people change their behaviour."
Friday night saw nightclubs throughout the country reopen their doors, prompting massive queues and fresh annoyance from representatives for the nightlife sector following a last-minute guideline change.
"When it comes to reopening guidelines for the late night sector the government appear to be all over the place with no practical knowledge of how the sector operates," said Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive for the Vintners' Federation of Ireland.
"[On Thursday], it was suggested events would be all-ticket, only for that stipulation to be removed from the guidelines, yet hours before clubs reopen tickets will once again be mandatory.
"This really has been a shambolic process from the press conference last Tuesday to this last-minute senseless u-turn," Cribben continued.
Featured Image via Julien Behal / RollingNews.ie