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Still time to avoid Christmas curbs as Covid cases set to fall in run-up

No desire’ within Cabinet to bring in new restrictions in light of high vaccine uptake

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Obstetrician Dr Cliona Murphy of the Coombe Maternity Hospital said most of the pregnant women admitted to ICU had not been vaccinated

Obstetrician Dr Cliona Murphy of the Coombe Maternity Hospital said most of the pregnant women admitted to ICU had not been vaccinated

Obstetrician Dr Cliona Murphy of the Coombe Maternity Hospital said most of the pregnant women admitted to ICU had not been vaccinated

The Government is hoping there is still time to avoid new Covid-19 restrictions for the Christmas period as daily cases and hospital numbers are set to peak in November.

Senior government sources have told the Irish Independent that there is no desire within Cabinet to bring in additional restrictions with such a high uptake of the vaccine.

However, there will be a renewed emphasis on targeting those who have yet to be vaccinated.

“Currently, Nphet (the National Public Health Emergency Team) models indicate that Covid cases and hospital numbers will peak in November and will be falling towards Christmas but we will have to keep a watching brief,” said a senior figure.

Another source said that numbers may fall quicker than anticipated over the next three to four weeks, putting the country in a better position by the time Christmas rolls around.

However, concerns remain in Government over hospital capacity to cope with both Covid-19 and influenza patients over the winter months.

Some ministers are worried that hospitals are busier now than they were last year due to the flu beginning to circulate.

Despite this, there is “no appetite” to impose new restrictions due to fears of a backlash from the public.

“There is a need to hold a sense of perspective and an effort to live with Covid,” said one minister.

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“The public would be bemused because they were told, ‘Get vaccinated’ and ‘Vaccines are the way out’ – and now they’ve gotten vaccinated, so I think a lot of people say, ‘I’ve done everything you’ve asked me, I’ve worn my mask, I’ve washed my hands. I’ve done everything you’ve asked me’.”

However, there will be a “major effort” to encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated to come forward.

It comes as medics said the majority of pregnant women being treated for Covid-19 in intensive care are unvaccinated.

Some 20 pregnant women or new mothers have been admitted to ICU intensive since the end of June, including several last weekend.

Dr Cliona Murphy, an obstetrician, who works at the Coombe Maternity Hospital in Dublin, told RTÉ’s News at One
she knew of “three women transferred to general hospitals for ICU” in Dublin in the last two days.

Dr Murphy, who is also chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “That has given us a bit of a shock.” She added that most of the women were not vaccinated.

Writing on social media, Dr Murphy said ICU admissions of pregnant women and mothers who had recently given birth was due to Covid pneumonia.

Consultant obstetrician at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, Declan Keane wrote online: “Sadly, we have had to transfer two more pregnant mothers with Covid to a general hospital this weekend for ventilation and ICU care.

“Both patients were unvaccinated. It doesn’t have to be this way – please get vaccinated.”

The HSE said more than 60pc of patients in ICU are unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, the numbers overall being treated in ICU for the virus rose to 99 yesterday – the highest figure since last March.

A total of 497 patients were being treated in hospital yesterday for the virus, an increase of 24 from Sunday. Another 1,845 new cases were confirmed yesterday.



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