Tony Holohan says Ireland might be in a position "in the coming weeks" to move away from some restrictions
The CMO said Ireland's vaccine uptake rates are among "the best in the world".
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan has said Ireland might be in a position "in the coming weeks" to move away from some economic and social Covid-19 restrictions.
He made the comments at a Department of Health briefing, in which 1,408 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Ireland.
However, it was also revealed that only 2% of cases are currently being hospitalised, which the CMO in a statement attributed to the "great progress being made in taking up vaccination".
During the briefing, he added: "We have reasons for optimism. Obviously we're continuing to see very high levels of vaccination in all of the age cohorts that have come forward for vaccination and have registered.
"We're now making vaccines available by way of registration for 16 to 18 year-olds and we'll hopefully in the next number of weeks be in a position to, as the Government decided yesterday, offer registration to children between the ages of 12-15.
"If we keep pushing on with the kinds of uptake rates we've seen in some of the older age groups, which by international standards are some of the best in the world, that gives us a lot of reason for optimism that the conditions that we think will need to be satisfied to allow us to move away from some of the restrictions that still remain in place could be met."
He said this would, however, also depend on the behaviour of the disease, before stating that Ireland would have to continue driving up vaccination rates as high as possible.
"The higher we go, the better the protection we have and the sooner, frankly, we'll be out of all of this in the sense of at least some of the economic and social restrictions that still remain in place." the CMO added.
"In broad terms, I think given the progress we're making in terms of vaccination, notwithstanding where we're at with the disease, we think that we might in the coming weeks be in a situation where we're able to reach the kinds of requirements that we think need to be reached to enable us to move away from some of the economic and social restrictions.
"That's exactly what we're looking at at the moment".