There were 381 new cases of Covid-19 reported by the Department of Health on Saturday. The number of patients with Covid-19 in ICU has risen by four to 42 with a total of 110 in hospital.
Meanwhile six states have been removed from Ireland’s mandatory hotel quarantine list, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said.
Passengers from Andorra, Georgia, Kuwait, Mongolia, Nigeria and Puerto Rico will no longer have to spend two weeks quarantining in a hotel on arrival at a cost of some €2,000.
However all travellers into the State must have a negative pre-departure test and those from non-designated countries must observe home quarantine.
Some 50 countries remain on the list including India, the United States, France, Belgium, Turkey, Brazil and South Africa.
Elsewhere about 45 per cent of adults in the State have had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the Health Service Executive (HSE)chief Paul Reid said.
Mr Reid said on Saturday more than 15 per cent of the population was fully vaccinated. He said more than 2.3 million vaccines have been administered, which didn’t include data from GPs.
Online Covid-19 vaccine registrations opened on Saturday for people aged 46. The HSE said that while Covid-19 vaccinations and tests are going ahead there may be some delays in getting results due to the cyberattack.
Minister of State Niall Collins described as a “huge concern” the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in Limerick and urged people to take personal responsibility and abide by public health advice.
Limerick local health officials said they had “serious concerns” over the rapid increase of Covid-19 cases, which have been linked , to social gatherings over the past two weeks.
According to provisional data released on Friday by Public Health Mid-West, there were 137 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Limerick over the past five days.
The Limerick TD told RTÉ’s Saturday with Katy Hannon radio programme that he will raise the issue with the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on Saturday.
Asked about the possibility of a local lockdown, he said it is a tool in the toolbox that is not necessary at the moment. Mr Collins said he believes it is too early to be considering a local lockdown, but the Government will “always take the public health advice”.
“We have to bear in mind that the vaccination programme is rolling out quite well here in Limerick and in the Midwest,” he said.
The department of public health officials in the Mid-West said activities that have contributed to the increase in cases “include house parties, indoor gatherings, social activities surrounding last week’s Eid celebrations, as well as significant onward transmission from weekend social events into workplaces”.
Dr Mai Mannix, director of Public Health Mid-West, said: “We have not seen this level of infection in the community since early March, which is a very worrying trend. If daily cases continue at this rate, coupled with the health service’s coping with the sinister cyberattack, we will find ourselves in a very troubling position.
A local department spokesman said it remained “in a strong position to identify these behavioural trends and swiftly manage new outbreaks”, despite the cyberattack on HSE IT systems causing “significant disruption to public health”.
“Our priority is to identify new cases, isolate them, and undertake contact tracing. The faster this happens, the faster we can control the spread of Covid-19,” he said.
The spokesman urged anyone showing symptoms or who is concerned they have been exposed to possible infection “to please make attempts to arrange a PCR test at the Limerick Covid Test Centre”.