LATEST: Kilkenny among 1,296 new cases of virus, first batch of vaccines arrive in Ireland
A further six people have died after contracting the coronavirus as 1,296 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed this evening.
It brings the overall death toll as a result of the virus to 2,200. There has now been 85,394 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the country, according to the latest daily briefing from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
Commenting on the latest figures, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said: “For the second day in a row we are reporting more than a thousand confirmed cases of Covid-19. Within a few short weeks of easing measures at the beginning of December, we have now returned to the very high levels of Covid-19 circulating in the community that we have not seen since the peak of Wave Two of this disease. This is very concerning.”
“While today is a positive day with the arrival of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine (Comirnaty), it does not mean that we can relax our adherence to public health measures.”
“We must continue to stay at home, avoid social contact where possible, avoid visiting friends and family and not have visitors to our homes. Our adherence to public health advice will remain our best defence against this disease and help us protect our vulnerable loved ones from the effects of Covid-19.”
The latest cases of the virus were confirmed as the first batch of the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Ireland today. The first vaccinations are expected to be administered on Wednesday.
In a statement, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the arrival of the vaccines was a “significant and positive step forward after a very challenging year”.
The vaccine is being stored in ultra-low refrigeration conditions at a secure location ahead of the roll-out of the national vaccination programme. The Pfizer-BioNTech uses new mRNA genetic technology, which means it must be stored at around -70C.
Minister Mr Donnelly said the vaccine was “rigorously tested by the European Medicines Agency and was found to be safe and effective”. He added: “It is a massive achievement by the scientific and medical communities. This vaccine will save many lives.”
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