IRELAND'S Chief Medical Officer has claimed that Omicron is already the "dominant strain" of Covid-19 in Ireland.
Dr Tony Holohan made the claim today as the Department of Health revealed there were 5,124 new confirmed cases of Covid-19.
The latest figures from the Department report there are 436 patients in hospital with Covid-19, of which 107 are in ICU.
There were 410 patients in hospital on Saturday, when 7,333 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported.
Dr Holohan has urged anyone eligible for a booster vaccine to get it "at the earliest opportunity".
'Flatten the curve'
"It has taken less than two weeks for #Omicron to become the dominant strain of #COVID19 in Ireland, revealing just how transmissible this variant is," Dr Holohan posted on Twitter.
"We have slowed transmission in the past using our basic measures & responding immediately if symptomatic – it is extremely important we do everything we can to flatten the curve of this wave now to prevent unnecessary deaths, risk to the vulnerable & to protect our health service.
— Dr Tony Holohan (@CMOIreland) December 19, 2021
"I urge anyone eligible for a booster to available [sic] of it at the earliest opportunity.
"If the majority of us can now reduce our social contact, meet others outdoors, work from home unless absolutely necessary, use face masks, avoid crowds and keep indoors well ventilated.
"Very importantly if you have any #COVID19 symptoms self-isolate immediately and arrange a PCR test, if you are a close contact of a confirmed case please restrict your movements."
Today also saw the rollout of the booster vaccine to those in the 40-49 age group.
Queues were reported at vaccine centres around the country, with the HSE providing live updates on waiting times on their social media accounts.
Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, anyone aged 18-29 who received their second vaccine more than three months ago can get a booster from today.
The Department of Health in Northern Ireland also predicts Omicron will be the dominant strain by Christmas.
The Department reported two further Covid-19-related deaths in Northern Ireland today, as well as 1,798 new cases.