DUBLIN, Ireland: Ireland has reached the middle stage of another wave of Covid-19 infections due to the spread of the Omicron sub-variants, according to the Health Service Executive's Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Colm Henry.
Henry said infections from Omricon now account for about 90 percent of cases that have been confirmed through testing.
"These new variants mean that the people who were previously infected with Delta, such as in summer, autumn of last year, or even that we call the BA.1 variant earlier this year, don't enjoy that protection from reinfection from these variants," Henry told RTE.
"And what we're seeing now, it highlights the fact that even though we're in a much better position as a country in relation to Covid, compared to previous summers, it highlights how much uncertainty still remains."
Henry noted that while new Covid cases are placing pressure on Ireland's hospitals, patients are not as sick as earlier.
Henry pointed to the latest statistics coming from Portugal, which remains weeks ahead of Ireland, in which Omricon viruses surged for four to six weeks, and then cases begin to fall.
He said patients appearing in Ireland's hospital emergency departments with Covid are at record highs for the end of June, which is "something we normally associate with the middle of winter."
Henry also said it is no longer necessary to perform population-based mass testing and contact tracing every case, "which is no longer appropriate and no longer really possible, given the kind of measures that would involve."
Rather, there is a move towards "a mitigation approach which involves protecting vulnerable individuals, vulnerable groups, and vulnerable settings."
As of the morning of June 29, there were 776 people admitted to hospitals with the Covid virus, an increase of 25 from yesterday.
Nationwide, 31 people are in intensive care units with Covid-19, an increase of three since yesterday.
Also, the Health Service Executive said more health care staff are testing positive in hospitals - with almost 600 staff members testing positive in the last week.
Meanwhile, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the National Immunization Advisory Committee is working to determine whether a fourth vaccine should be administered to people aged under 65 years later this year.