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15th Nov 2021

Micheál Martin says lockdown for unvaccinated will not happen

Sarah McKenna Barry

Austria has imposed a lockdown on those who are not vaccinated against Covid-19.

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has ruled out the possibility of a lockdown for those who are unvaccinated, RTÉ reports.

The Fianna Fáil  leader was attending an event in Navan today and pointed to Austria, where unvaccinated citizens are subject to a lockdown. Those who have yet to receive their vaccine are only allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons.

While he said he would look “with interest” at Austria’s strategy, Mr Martin said that Ireland will not follow a similar route. This is down to the high vaccination uptake in Ireland. With 93% of Irish adults being doubly-vaccinated, Ireland has one of the highest rates of vaccination in Europe.

Austria, meanwhile, has a much lower vaccine uptake rate at just 65%.

An Taoiseach acknowledged that the situation with Covid-19 cases in Ireland is “serious”, but reiterated that, due to vaccination, Ireland is in a different position compared to last year.

He also added that the rollout of the booster vaccine programme is showing “promising” results.

Mr Martin was speaking ahead of the Cabinet Covid Committee meeting, which takes place today. There, the Coalition leaders will discuss recommendations regarding reducing infections with the Ministers for Health, Finance and Public Expenditure.

NPHET has recommended extending the use of Covid-19 certs in public life.

The Taoiseach has said that three main factors will play a role in containing the virus. They are: vaccine boosters, antigen testing and behaviour.

Last week, Mr Martin ruled out the possibility of a Christmas lockdown.

Speaking on the Dermot and Dave Show on TodayFM, he said: “I don’t see a dramatic going back or returning to where we were but because of socialisation, because we have reopened society, with the Delta variant that has resulted in very high case numbers and that is worrying.”

Imagery: Julien Behal ©