Growing speculation that Delta variant could delay further economic reopening on July 5th

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The rise in Covid cases related to the Delta variant could put the brakes on the planned re-opening for July 5th.

A Nenagh based consultant has warned that we should look to what’s happening globally for guidance, while travel plays a key role.

This variant now accounts for 20 percent of cases here and is responsible for slowing down the easing of restrictions in the UK.

Speaking to Tipp Today earlier, Consultant Endocrinologist in Nenagh, Dr Mary Ryan, said that we are in a much better place now, with so many people vaccinated, while two trials have shown that full vaccination does offer protection against this strain.

Currently, 3.8 million doses of the Covid vaccine have been given – 66% of people have had their first dose, while 38% are fully vaccinated.

Dr Ryan said that the variant could however delay re-opening plans.

“Of course we’re worried about this Delta variant. It’s telling us in the UK that people are not vaccinated and the ones that have only had a first dose are at risk.

“The fact that we’re doing well should help us, but if I was to be truthful, it’s probably going to slow down the re-opening.

“Our case numbers are still down by 22%, our hospitalisations are down, our ICU numbers are down. So, while 20% of cases are due to the variant, at the moment we’re holding tough.”

The HSE meanwhile, is warning against gatherings and urging people to keep things outside where it’s safer.

Chief Operations Officer, Anne O’Connor said people need to be careful.

“The problem is this particular variant moves so quickly, because of its higher level of transmissibility, it goes through groups of people much more quickly.

“People just need to be that bit cautious and to ask themselves, do those things need to happen?

“I know communions are huge and people have had those cancelled and deferred for children and their families.

“I think in terms of the numbers of people and some of the precautionary measures, for example being outdoors perhaps, are really important.”

In Australia, Sydney is now facing another total lockdown because of the Delta variant.

Dr Ryan cautioned that travel must be monitored and potentially curtailed, looking at what’s been happening around the world.

“That’s where we really have to look at, is the travel coming in from abroad, we’ve to be very careful.

“You can only go by the numbers Fran, so I think if the numbers hold, indoor dining will be ok.

“I think it’s only fair that we try to keep the economy going and the health of the nation.

“Where I would really be looking at and I hope Eamonn Ryan and all the Government will look at, is the travel.”

It remains to be seen how the plans for re-opening will play out, with no firm answers for the business people who are in limbo.