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24 Jan 2022

Covid rule changes ‘proportionate’ to current impact of Omicron infection - CMO

Covid rule changes ‘proportionate’ to current impact of Omicron infection - CMO

Covid rule changes ‘proportionate’ to current impact of Omicron infection - CMO

Newly announced Covid rule changes are “proportionate” to the current impact of the Omicron variant.

That’s according to the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, who said, “[The] changes to the public health management of Covid-19 cases and close contacts are framed in light of available evidence, expert views and the international experience of Covid-19, including the recently published guidance from ECDC.” 

The new rules - which come into effect at midnight - mean close contacts without a booster vaccine will have to restrict their movements for seven days, however fully vaccinated close contacts with no Covid-19 symptoms are no longer required to isolate at all. 

However, they are advised to take regular antigen tests and wear a medical or higher grade face mask. 

Dr Holohan continued: “The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is continuing to have a significant impact on all areas of our society and economy due to its increased growth advantage compared to Delta. 

“There are some early, positive indicators however, that suggest infection from Omicron results in less severe illness and reduced requirement for care in hospital.” 

Dr Holohan’s comments come after the confirmation of over 20,000 cases of Covid-19 in Ireland yesterday (January 12). 

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has been notified of 20,909 new cases, with 1,055 Covid-19 patients in hospital. Ninety two are currently in ICU. 

He said, “It is important to note that the changes announced today cover a range of measures from self-isolation and restriction of movements to mask wearing and testing. These measures are more proportionate to the current level of infection and the impact it is having. 

“In particular, while we are reducing the requirement to self-isolate and restrict movements for cases and close contacts respectively, we are strengthening guidance relating to mask wearing and reduced social contact for the full 10 days following diagnosis or last known close contact.” 

A total of 6,035 deaths related to Covid-19 have been reported in Ireland, including 83 deaths in the past week (since last Wednesday January 5).

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