Dublin, Dec 19 (IANS) Ireland's confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Saturday more than doubled to 7,333 from the previous day's figure of 3,628 due to the rapid spread of the new variant Omicron, according to the health department of Ireland.
In a statement issued by the Irish Department of Health, Tony Holohan, chief medical officer with the department, warned that 'Recent international experience and the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant here means we can expect to see a large number of cases over the next short period of time.'
The Saturday figure of the Covid-19 cases released by the Irish health authorities represented the third highest ever recorded in Ireland in a single day since the pandemic hit the country in February 2020, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the official tally.
On Friday, the Irish Department of Health said in a statement that 'approximately 35 percent of reported cases (in the country) are now due to the Omicron variant.'
Ireland reported its confirmed Omicron case at the very beginning of this month. The case is associated with travel to a country in southern part of Africa, said the Irish health department.
The Irish government on Friday announced a number of new public health measures in order to control the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the coming Christmas and New Year holidays.
The measures, which will take effect from next Monday and last till January 30 of next year, include that all local restaurants and bars, excluding their takeaway and delivery services, must close at 8 p.m. and that there should be no indoor events after 8 p.m. except wedding receptions which must limit attendance to 100 guests.
The government has also put a ceiling on the attendance at both indoor and outdoor events, demanding that attendance at indoor events in the day shall limit to 50 per cent of venue capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is lower, and that the number of people attending outdoor events shall not exceed 5,000 or 50 per cent of venue capacity, whichever is lower.
The new rules also require close contacts of a confirmed Covid-19 case to self-isolate for at least five days, depending on their vaccination status.
Starting from the midnight of Sunday(Irish time), passengers arriving into Ireland are also advised to take antigen testing on a daily basis for five consecutive days commencing on the day of their arrival.
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