IRELAND'S Minister for Health has warned that the Delta variant could cause close to 2,000 deaths in Ireland over the coming months.
Addressing the Seanad before they voted on the new legislation to allow the return of indoor dining, Stephen Donnelly said that NPHET modelling indicates that between 355 and 1,760 people will likely die due to Covid-19 between now and late October.
"In the War of Independence about 2,300 people, died to put it in context," Donnelly said.
Yesterday's figures show that 1,173 new cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed in Ireland, with 50% of these cases attributed to people between the ages of 19-34 years of age.
As such, the Health Minister has urged the public to stop calling for a full reopening of hospitality, as the prominence of the Delta variant needed to be considered.
"Given the rapidly increasing prevalence of the disease, particularly among those not yet fully vaccinated, I hope these calls will be dropped and that the proposed approach will be supported," the Minister said.
"Some advocate moving faster, opening fully or opening with testing. But that wouldn’t be safe right now.
"Others advocate keeping the sector closed."
Ireland's hospitality sector is set for a major boost next week due to the imminent return of indoor dining.
A vaccine pass system has been set up to ensure that only fully vaccinated individuals can access these areas. These passes have been sent out to every adult around the country who has either received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, or has recovered from the virus in the last six months.
Failure to produce a vaccine pass at any pubs, restaurant or café in Ireland means that you won't be able to dine indoors, though outdoor dining areas will still be available.
Critics argue the new rules are discriminatory, and that they deny freedoms to those who either cannot or have chosen not to take the vaccine, and of course, those who haven't been offered one yet.