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Controlling Covid-19 and protecting the health service remain potential issues into 2022, according to Government plan

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The plan said there is still some uncertainty about what impact the vaccines will have on transmission rates.

The plan said there is still some uncertainty about what impact the vaccines will have on transmission rates.

The plan said there is still some uncertainty about what impact the vaccines will have on transmission rates.

Controlling Covid-19 and protecting the health service may still be issues into this winter and even 2022, despite the vaccination programme, the Government’s new Covid-19 plan says.

The plan, which expects a significant majority of the Irish population to be vaccinated by next Autumn/Winter, claimed many of the problems facing the State may persist.

It said there is still some uncertainty about what impact the vaccines will have on transmission rates.

Recent studies have been promising about the efficacy of some vaccines in this regard.

One UK study found that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine cut down by 86pc someone’s chance of developing an infection that could be spread. Another study from Israel found a similar reduction of 89.4pc.

The Government’s new plan also raised the issue of how Covid-19 might affect this winter because opportunities for transmission will increase during colder months, as more people cluster together indoors in poorly ventilated spaces.

In addition, if the same levels of social distancing measures are not in place, other respiratory infections will likely be in greater circulation.

This would be “potentially placing a double pressure on the health service” according to the plan.

There is also concern over the “growing levels of fatigue” with public health measures and “consequent lower levels of adherence”.

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The plan itself acknowledges the public’s levels of adherence to the guidelines could be a new challenge in the coming months.

“The experience of the last year has been challenging for everyone,” it says.

“Nevertheless, adherence to public health advice remains high and there are continuing high levels of support for measures aimed at suppressing the disease”

“However, recent research shows a complex balance between Covid-19 fatigue and resilience is emerging. High ongoing levels of pandemic fatigue, could adversely affect continued population acceptance of and compliance with the nonpharmaceutical interventions.”

The Government’s plan also said the impact of Covid-19 variants remains uncertain. In an effort to stop the spread of mutations, the Government has introduced a mandatory quarantine for travellers coming in from 20 countries.

This list includes Brazil and South Africa, where two new mutations originate from. Anyone arriving into the state from these countries remains quarantined for 14 days, regardless of whether they test negative for the virus.

Currently, people are expected to complete this quarantine at home, but Minister for Justice Helen McEntee recently said that mandatory hotel quarantine should be law in three to four weeks.


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