Leo Varadkar: True daily Covid-19 case number is over 4,000

Leo Varadkar: True daily Covid-19 case number is over 4,000

Covid cases are over 4,000 a day, but Nphet is not minded to reimpose restrictions, the Tánaiste has told a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting.

Leo Varadkar said a backlog in cases is keeping the announced figures down, but the true figure is now over 4,000. However, he said that reimposing restrictions, while not being ruled out, is not on the agenda.

The situation has “taken a turn for the worse” in terms of cases, he said, but the spike in hospitalisations is largely down to people being diagnosed with the virus in hospital.

Mr Varadkar said the use of antigen testing could be done in tandem with a move to widespread use of FFP2 masks instead of cloth or surgical masks.

He said the booster programme in Israel has been “an enormous success”. Mr Varadkar also told the meeting both the issues of Covid and Brexit “have not gone away”.

On the latter, the Northern Ireland Protocol is working as planned, he said.

Mr Varadkar said he believes the majority of people in the North are in favour of the protocol, but said that “unfortunately the UK sees it a different way”. He said the trade and cooperation agreement could be suspended if the UK invokes Article 16. He said that suspension makes a no-deal Brexit a possibility once more, but he hopes the UK will “pull back from the brink”.

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