TAOISEACH Micheal Martin has said the incoming Delta variant wave will be “different in its impact than previous waves”.
The Fianna Fail leader said the Government is “concerned” and is urging the public to help protect the progress the country has made so far.
Speaking in Cork today, he said: “Delta does present a challenge.
“The interesting issue will be the link between volume of cases and hospitalisation.
“We are concerned about it, but that said, we have significant numbers of the population vaccinated, we are going to accelerate that in the coming month, it is a race between the vaccines and the virus.
“There will be a wave, but it will be different in its impact than previous waves.”
Meanwhile, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has said there is “no reason to believe” Ireland will go into a fourth lockdown over the dreaded Delta wave.
The Fine Gael leader reckons people will still be able to have an outdoor summer despite cases rising again.
Varadkar told the Irish Independent: “There is no reason to believe that we will be forced to go into a fourth lockdown because of the variant.
“We can still have an outdoor summer, holiday and look forward to schools and colleges going back safely in September when all adults are vaccinated.
“And we may be vaccinating teenagers at that point too.”
‘GOING TO HAPPEN’
Martin yesterday said a fourth wave is “going to happen”.
He added: “We need to get it into our heads that the Delta variant is real and it is going to happen.
“If the forecasts don’t turn out as bad as people have said, well that’s good news all round but we have to take on board what has been forecasted and deal decisively with that.”
Meanwhile, the Government has contacted all member States in the European Union offering to buy spare vaccines to boost the jab programme.
According to the Irish Times, a “number of leads” have been identified.
VACCINES FROM ROMANIA
Meanwhile, Ireland has agreed a deal in principle to purchase one million unwanted vaccines from Romania.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin spoke to the president of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, on Friday and a deal was agreed, but is yet to be finalised.
A spokesman for the Taoiseach said: “The Taoiseach has consistently been making every effort and working with his counterparts across Europe to increase the number of vaccines made available to Ireland.
“As part of this process the Taoiseach had a good discussion this morning with his EU counterpart, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, and they agreed in principle to the purchase of one million vaccines.
“This process is continuing and is yet to be completed. He will continue to work with his government colleagues to expedite the vaccine programme.
“This includes discussions with the European Commission and with member states, particularly those who may have potential surpluses.
“Ensuring that as many people as possible can get vaccinated as quickly as possible remains the best way to combat Covid-19, particularly given the rapid rise of the Delta variant.”
It is understood that the purchase will be made up of the mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna.