Ireland 'on track' to drop Covid restrictions on October 22 - Taoiseach says

Ireland 'on track' to drop Covid restrictions on October 22 - Taoiseach says

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin says Ireland is on track to lift the vast majority of Covid-19 public health measures on October 22.

It's been dubbed Ireland's 'Freedom Day' as all but a few restrictions which have seeped into everyday life during the last 19 months will be lifted.

Physical distancing and vaccine passports at pubs will be dropped, along with limits on the number of people allowed at indoor and outdoor events.

A couple of restrictions will remain, such as the wearing of face masks, but this will only be required in shops and on public transport.

Speaking about Ireland's upcoming Freedom Day, Martin said: "It is all on track right now," but admitted that he'd like to see hospital numbers drop.

"The hospital numbers haven’t come down, they’ve been fairly hovering around that 300 plus and the same in ICU," the Taoiseach said.

"I’d like them to come down a bit more if I’m honest but at the same time we’re now close to 93% of over 18s [vaccinated], high 80% in the over 12s.

"I think in the first instance and I’ve been talking to the Chief Medical Officer, the situation in schools has come back to summer levels.

"The CMO is happy with that, that’s stabilised.

"We still will have to wear masks where they are statutory in terms of retail, public transport, retail settings."

His comments follow those of NPHET's Professor Philip Nolan, who earlier this week insisted that Ireland was "close" to suppressing the virus once and for all.

"We’re fortunate with our very high level of vaccinations and frankly the very sensible manner in which each and every one of us is taking the precautions, we seem have come close to suppressing what is a very transmissible virus," Prof Nolan said.