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Dr. Colm Henry, the chief clinical officer of the HSE mentioned that the mask mandates will only be reintroduced if the country’s Covid-19 conditions becomes worse. 

However, he said the HSE was worried at the upsurge of infection in present weeks which is blamed on the BA.5 and BA.4 Omicron subvariants. 

ICU admissions remains stable at twenty-three which is comforting, he explained to Claire Byrne RTÉ radio. 

At least 70% of new infections is driven by the highly contagious subvariants and Dr. Henry expect that number to fall in coming weeks. The same scenario played out in Portugal where infections were plunging after hitting the peak. 

Worrying pattern

Regardless of the fact that the infection number was not as high as before, it is still a “worrying pattern”. Sadly, out of 606 ongoing infections at the moment, over half did not get a second or a third jab, he explained. 

When questioned about wearing mask, Dr. Henry mentioned that that it was crucial in healthcare settings but also highlighted the unpredictable nature of the virus which makes it impossible to say with certainty if mask mandate will not make a U-turn. 

Ireland currently has a high population immunity, thanks to more vaccination. However, he warned that anyone who notices a sign should opt for the antigen test and further quarantine if the test returns positive. 

He further urged everyone yet to get vaccinated and those that qualified for boosters should do so, as at now, out of 700,000 that qualify for a second jab, only 311,000 has taken it. 

Also, Dr. Henry said the number of sick people now was far higher than what is usually the case during this period in the year. He said it was disturbing and that the HSE is doing their best to deal with it through enhanced community intercession and care.

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