The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 5,471* confirmed cases of COVID-19.
As of 8am today, 579 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of whom 122 are in ICU.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said:
"The ongoing efforts by parents and children to adhere to the public health advice during this pandemic has been fundamental to our work to drive down the incidence of COVID-19 in the community.
"Our priority continues to be to minimise risk and protect as many people as possible from severe illness.
"In a very short period of time, we have seen a significant and rapid deterioration in the epidemiological situation, in the as-yet-unvaccinated 5 – 11-year-olds. This has resulted in a sharp increase in incidence in this age group.
Today, following public health advice, Government has agreed that:
Parents should aim to reduce socialisation indoors in respect of children aged 12 and younger over the next two weeks.
On a temporary basis, subject to review in mid-February 2022, the wearing of face masks/coverings will be recommended for children: aged 9 years and over on public transport, in retail and other indoor public settings as currently required for those aged 13 and over, with exemptions as appropriate; and in third class and above in primary school (guidance will issue to schools from the Department of Education on this).
With effect from 00.01 am on Friday 3 December 2021, persons arriving into the State from overseas who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 will be required also to have a certified* “negative/not- detected” test result (i.e. not self-administered), from an antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before arrival* or a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.
It is envisaged that current exemptions from testing (e.g. children aged 11 and under) would continue to apply, in line with existing regulations.
Air and sea carriers will be required to carry out pre-boarding checks for compliance, supplemented by BMU/GNIB spot-checks on arrivals at ports and airports.
This measure will apply for a minimum period of two weeks, and kept under review with a view to removal as soon as possible thereafter taking account of the overall epidemiological situation.
Mandatory Hotel Quarantine
Government agreed that the Health (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 2021 will be initiated in the Dáil or the Seanad upon finalisation of the text.
Public health advice recognises the potential value of more general use of antigen tests in particular situations if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19.*
Engagement has taken place with leading retailers and wholesalers on the availability of affordable antigen tests through the retail sector. Early indications are that prices reductions have already been brought forward by a number of large retailers in recent days. The pricing and availability of antigen tests continue to be closely monitored, with a focus on ensuring their continued availability to the public at affordable prices.
The public health advice is that the future trajectory remains uncertain. The three steps everyone can take to help reduce the spread of the virus are:
Get vaccinated and get your booster when you are called.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get a PCR test, self-isolate until you get your result and then follow the public health advice.
In every situation, reduce your risk of catching / transmitting COVID-19 over the coming weeks by:
prioritising close friends and family and being conscious of vulnerable people (including yourself) in your circle;
meeting outdoors where possible and opening windows and doors to let fresh air in if meeting indoors;
wearing a mask, keeping your distance and cleaning your hands frequently; and
using antigen tests appropriately.
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