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11th Nov 2021

Taoiseach addresses possibility of Christmas lockdown

Sarah McKenna Barry

Mr Martin said that we are in a “better position” this year thanks to vaccines.

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has ruled out the possibility of a Christmas lockdown as daily cases of Covid-19 surge.

Speaking on the Dermot and Dave Show on TodayFM, Mr Martin said that while the cases are worrying, he doesn’t think that there will be a need for a lockdown around the Christmas holidays.

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.”

He added: “I don’t see Christmas lockdowns.”

The Fianna Fáil leader said that if it hadn’t been for the vaccine campaign, we would be looking at a lockdown this winter.

“We’re in a very different position, a better position than last year because the power of vaccination has been dramatic,” he said.

“If we didn’t have vaccination we would be in lockdown because we have a very highly transmissible variant, the Delta variant.”

The Taoiseach did urge the public to “imaginatively look at how we behave and how we manage events.”

He then joked that fans of the “12 pubs of Christmas” could opt to visit just one pub instead.

Mr Martin’s comments come ahead of NPHET’s meeting today, in which they will discuss the need for measures should infection rates continue to stay high.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health said that there were 520 Covid-19 patients in hospital, and 83 in the ICU.

Ireland’s chief medical officer, Tony Holohan said: “The volume of disease in the community is very high and represents a significant risk to those who are most vulnerable in our society.

“We need to continue to use all of the tools available to us to protect ourselves and others.”

According to Breaking News, all counties are seeing an increase in infection rates among all age groups, though those in the 19-24 age group are being particularly affected.

There has been a drop in Covid-19 incidence among the over-85s, and this is being attributed to the rollout of the booster vaccine programme.

Photo: Julien Behal ©