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11th Oct 2022

Leo Varadkar advises public to mask up as Covid restrictions debate returns

Dave Hanratty

Covid cases are on the rise once again.

Winter is coming, so that means it’s cold, flu and, as has now been established, Covid season.

While the overall urgency regarding Covid-19 has decreased significantly since the successful rollout of the vaccination programme, health officials continue to urge the public to be vigilant, particularly as the autumn and winter months unfold.

As of Tuesday morning (11 October), 474 people are hospitalised in relation to Covid; an increase of 10 on the previous day.

Of these, 13 people are in ICU.

As of last week, 7,959 people in Ireland are estimated to have died to date as a result of Covid-19.

Speaking to RTÉ News on Tuesday morning following a meeting with new Chief Medical Officer Breda Smyth, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar addressed the possibility of restrictions being reintroduced, noting his confidence in avoiding such measures, while also encouraging the public to once more take precautions, including wearing masks in appropriate settings.

“[We] had a very good briefing last night by the new CMO, who just set out the epidemiological situation,” said Varadkar.

“And it does appear that we are now seeing Covid cases rising again in Ireland and indeed across Europe, but we would expect to be able to banish that without having to impose any new restrictions on people.

“But [we are] very much re-emphasising that message – to consider wearing a mask in crowded scenarios, please get your up-to-date vaccine. I see being vaccinated as a bit like your phone being charged over time; the immunity wanes and the battery goes down and you need to get vaccinated again.”

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly is set to present his ‘winter plan’ to Cabinet on Tuesday.

The memo will reportedly contain an outline of specific health advice for the CMO to consider in relation to the months ahead.

Featured Image of Leo Varadkar via Sasko Lazarov /