The state’s public health team Nphet will meet next week as the Taoiseach says it “hopes” that progress can be made on easing restrictions after that.
Mr Martin said closing hours for hospitality and indoor events at 8 pm would be observed and a package of support for entertainers would also be considered.
“We will be looking at hospitality and we will obviously be looking at the 8 pm ban as well. With (Minister) Katherine (Martin) and others in the cabinet, we are looking at how we can continue to support artists and artists. ,
“Certainly we are making progress with respect to COVID-19 and with Omicron. It has been a very permeable version, which in its own way has made gatherings potentially challenging,” he said.
“That said, I want to say pay tribute to the sector for their great tolerance and tolerance, with many demonstrations during the day and earlier in the day and really trying to innovate around the restrictions. But the restrictions are very severe, there is no point in saying anything else.”
Mr Martin said that although he is not in a position to say anything definitive yet about the easing of restrictions, he is hopeful.
“We are making progress against Omicron. There will be a meeting of NAFET next week and I hope that we will be in a position to move forward in terms of the current sanctions.
“We are optimistic in terms of the progress we have made to date.”
Taniste Leo Varadkar has said that a decision on easing COVID-19 restrictions is unlikely to be taken until it is clear that the numbers in hospitals are peaking.
Mr Varadkar, speaking at the new Aldi headquarters in Kildare, Ko Kildare, said the focus on COVID-19 data had shifted from the number of cases to the number of people in hospitals and ICUs.
“It is not yet clear whether the numbers in hospitals have peaked. It is still over 1,000 and there are just under 100 in the ICU.
“So I think we would like to see hospital numbers and ICU numbers fall before we feel comfortable about easing restrictions.
He said that the existing restrictions in the current scheme will remain in force till January 31.
He said Nuffet was meeting on January 20 and hoped that the group would advise Health Minister Stephen Donnelly that evening which would allow the government to make a decision.
He said that on that basis, the hospitality industry would get good advance notice about the easing of restrictions.
Meanwhile Deputy Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn has defended changes to self-isolation rules for close contacts that are in force today amid concerns that they have become too lax. He emphasized that Nphet carefully examined and balanced a number of issues before coming to its decision.
In an interview on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1, he said that advisories and guidelines have been changed regularly during the pandemic, given the ever-evolving situation such a virus presents.
“The latest changes are in light of our emerging understanding of Omicron, the importance of boosters which is reflected in the guidance, the impact we have seen on society at large and our healthcare especially in the past few weeks and clearly What is ECDC said and other international guidance too.
“There are certainly reasons for optimism and hope and we see across Europe that many countries have experienced a similar picture in that the numbers in ICUs remain stable.
“But I think it’s a little early for us to draw conclusions on this at this point. We all want it to be true and we all want to move on from it but from our perspective we need another week’s worth of data.”
Meanwhile, HSE’s chief operating officer, Anne O’Connor, told The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk that Ireland has 1,023 confirmed COVID cases in hospitals, as opposed to 1,011 yesterday. 92 are in ICU.
Ms O’Connor said that of that number, about 70 percent of patients were hospitalized because of a Covid-related illness. Another 30 percent are patients who presented “probably with a broken leg” but were also found to have COVID.
Ms O’Connor explained the “huge impact” COVID cases are having on the overall hospital system.
He cited the example of Galway University Hospital, which has 15 medical and surgical wards, of which three are now “COVID wards” for COVID admissions.
“They have another four wards that are affected by Covid where they have an outbreak. It is important for the people to understand that from our point of view the hospital runs like a complete system. It hinders our ability to discharge people.
“For those who are in outbreak wards, they cannot go to nursing homes. We do not have the same freedom to leave. ,