The virus is more contagious than ever before.
That was the stark warning from An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar as he said unvaccinated people are the “new vulnerable” and should continue to follow strict pandemic guidelines on social distancing.
A further 994 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, as the Delta variant fuels a worrying escalation in cases, particularly among young people. 80 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, with 22 of those patients in intensive care (ICU).
“The pandemic is not over, we are entering a new phase of the pandemic,” said Mr Varadkar, speaking during Leader’s Questions.
“At the start of the pandemic, older people were those most at risk and we asked them to stay at home and that saved lots of lives and prevented a lot of illness,”
“Now unvaccinated people of all ages are the ones who are most at risk. These are people who are not fully vaccinated.
“They are the new vulnerable, and they are at greater risk over the next few weeks than at any point since this pandemic began. I need to emphasise that very strongly.
The Tánaiste urged people who aren’t vaccinated to get vaccinated “and to take every precaution as though it was March 2020 when it comes to what you do between now and then.”
“That’s a hard thing to say. But it is the truth,” he added.
People in Ireland aged between 25 and 29 can register for a Covid-19 vaccine from today.