Politics

Number of hospital patients falls to lowest level in four weeks as Varadkar says ‘plan is working’

The number of Covid patients in hospital has fallen to 487, the lowest level in almost four weeks, the latest official figures show. The number of Covid patients in hospital fell by 41 between Friday and Saturday. There were 5,622 further cases of Covid-19 reported on Saturday.

Tweeting about the latest hospital figures on Saturday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the “plan is working – 3rd doses, masks, test & isolate, physical distancing. Thank you for what you are doing. Please don’t lose heart. Let’s all have a safe Christmas”.

Meanwhile waiting times for a Covid booster vaccine were up an hour at Citywest in Dublin on Saturday morning, the HSE said . Boosters are being offered healthcare workers and those aged 60-69 at various walk-in centres across the State . The total number of booster vaccine administered across so far is 913,670.

The figures come as the Government on Friday announced its most wide-ranging introduction of new restrictions this year after “stark” warnings to take immediate action in the face of the threat from the Omicron variant.

From Tuesday until at least January 9th, indoor hospitality will be limited to parties of six adults, while nightclubs will be closed and indoor events limited to half a venue’s capacity. Advice has been issued that households should not host more than three other households in their home, while the use of the vaccine pass is to be extended to gyms and hotel bars and restaurants.

The measures were confirmed after tensions re-emerged between the Coalition and its public health advisers during testy exchanges earlier in the day.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) had warned while it was “impossible to quantify the level of risk” from the new variant Omicron, this may become clear only “when it may be too late to take mitigating measures”.

Saying he shared the “frustration” of the public, Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced a range of restrictions on hospitality and associated financial supports.

The issue of communications raised at Cabinet, where Ministers took a formal decision that all communications on Covid were now to be managed by and done through the Government Information Service, which would apply to civil servants and members of advisory bodies. Several well-placed sources said the intervention was seen as a direct response to disquiet among some senior Coalition figures over Nphet’s media strategy

The Irish Hotels Federation on Saturday described as “extremely disappointing “ the “low level” of supports announced by the Government.

“ They fall far short of what is urgently needed given the scale of the crisis now facing the sector,” the IHF said





Confirmed cases in hospital Confirmed cases in ICU


487


114

The Government reopened applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for people from impacted sectors, and a targeted version of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme for the hospitality sector. Businesses such as restaurants and theatres will be able to access the scheme despite not being fully closed. A commercial rates waiver for the first three months of 2022 will be introduced for the hospitality and entertainment sector. An extra €25 million will be made available to support the live entertainment sector. However the cuts to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) – the rates of which were cut this weekwere not reversed.

“It is devastating that the Government has failed to restore employment supports for hotels, despite the collapse in business levels witnessed throughout the country by our sector. We are calling on the Government to revisit this decision and urgently restore EWSS supports to November levels,”IHF President Elaina Fitzgerald Kane states: said .

She said December trade normally sustained very challenging off-peak months but this has been “wiped out” with occupancy rates of just 35 per cent for December.

The number of Covid patients in hospital has fallen to 487, the lowest level in almost four weeks, the latest official figures show.

Tweeting about the latest hospital figures on Saturday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the “plan is working – 3rd doses, masks, test & isolate, physical distancing. Thank you for what you are doing. Please don’t lose heart. Let’s all have a safe Christmas”.

The number of Covid patients in hospital fell by 41 between Friday and Saturday. However the number of patients in ICU increased by 4 to 114.

Meanwhile, waiting times for a Covid booster vaccine were up an hour at Citywest in Dublin on Saturday morning, the HSE said. Boosters are being offered healthcare workers and those aged 60-69 at various walk-in centres across the State. The total number of booster vaccine administered across so far is 913,670.

The figures come as the Government on Friday announced its most wide-ranging introduction of new restrictions this year after “stark” warnings to take immediate action in the face of the threat from the Omicron variant.

From Tuesday until at least January 9th, indoor hospitality will be limited to parties of six adults, while nightclubs will be closed and indoor events limited to half a venue’s capacity. Advice has been issued that households should not host more than three other households in their home, while the use of the vaccine pass is to be extended to gyms and hotel bars and restaurants.

The measures were confirmed after tensions re-emerged between the Coalition and its public health advisers during testy exchanges earlier in the day.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) had warned while it was “impossible to quantify the level of risk” from the new variant Omicron, this may become clear only “when it may be too late to take mitigating measures”.

Saying he shared the “frustration” of the public, Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced a range of restrictions on hospitality and associated financial supports.

The issue of communications raised at Cabinet, where Ministers took a formal decision that all communications on Covid were now to be managed by and done through the Government Information Service, which would apply to civil servants and members of advisory bodies. Several well-placed sources said the intervention was seen as a direct response to disquiet among some senior Coalition figures over Nphet’s media strategy.

The Irish Hotels Federation on Saturday described as “extremely disappointing “ the “low level” of supports announced by the Government.

“They fall far short of what is urgently needed given the scale of the crisis now facing the sector,” the IHF said.

The Government reopened applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment for people from impacted sectors, and a targeted version of the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme for the hospitality sector. Businesses such as restaurants and theatres will be able to access the scheme despite not being fully closed.

A commercial rates waiver for the first three months of 2022 will be introduced for the hospitality and entertainment sector. An extra €25 million will be made available to support the live entertainment sector. However, the cuts to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) – the rates of which were cut this week were not reversed.

“It is devastating that the Government has failed to restore employment supports for hotels, despite the collapse in business levels witnessed throughout the country by our sector. We are calling on the Government to revisit this decision and urgently restore EWSS supports to November levels,” IHF president Elaina Fitzgerald Kane said.

She said December trade normally sustained very challenging off-peak months but this has been “wiped out” with occupancy rates of just 35 per cent for December.


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