Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said he was “absolutely shocked” by the scenes of large crowds gathered in Dublin city center on Saturday evening.
Dr Holohan tweeted: “I drove into Dublin city center to pick up someone from work at 8:15 pm. Absolutely shocked by the scenes of South Great George’s St, Exchequer St, South William St.
“Huge crowds – like a big outdoor party. This is what we don’t need when we have made so much progress.
On Sunday morning, HSE CEO Paul Reid warned that there are still many risks to protect against.
“Let’s not forget that it is the Irish, young and old, who have allowed us to be in a much better situation with Covid-19. So many sacrifices have been made. There are still many risks to protect against, but let’s not lose faith in people who are doing the right thing, ”he said on Twitter.
There were thousands of people in Dublin city center on Saturday night with plenty of pubs serving take out pints.
The areas around Fade Street, Drury Street and Exchequer Street were crowded.
A large number of young people were sitting outside in the streets drinking. Gardaí was there with guard cars but did not intervene.
In adjacent St Stephens’s Green, drinkers played football as the crowd cheered.
Darren O’Driscoll said he was taking pints “because there is nothing else to do. He locked us up for about four years at this point. “
Meanwhile, Galway City Council has reinstated restrictions in the area known as “Middle Arch” – between Wolfe Tone Bridge and Claddagh Quay – at the request of gardaí.
“This measure will provide assistance in social distancing,” he said, noting that large crowds had gathered in recent days.
“This temporary closure under the Covid-19 restrictions will be in place for several weeks,” he added.
A radical lifting of the Covid-19 restrictions was announced Friday evening by the Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
Let’s not forget that it’s the Irish, young and old, who have put us in a much better place with # COVID-19[FEMALE[FEMININE. So many sacrifices have been made. There are still many risks to protect against, but let’s not lose faith in the people who are doing the right thing. @HSELive
– Paul Reid (@paulreiddublin)
May 30, 2021
I drove into Dublin city center to pick someone up from work at 8:15 pm Absolutely shocked at the scenes of South Great George’s St, Exchequer St, South William St. Huge crowds, like a big party in outdoors. This is what we don’t need when we have made so much progress.
– Dr Tony Holohan (@CMOIreland)
May 29, 2021
The measures will see a large degree of normalcy gradually return to social and commercial life over the summer, with hotels opening in a few days and international travel set to resume from July 19.
As of Saturday afternoon, another 464 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported by the Department of Health.
At midnight on Friday May 28, there were 90 Covid-19 patients in the hospital and among them, 35 were in intensive care.
The department said the daily case figure could change due to future data validation.
Saturday’s hospitalization and intensive care numbers are at their lowest levels since September 23, 2020 and December 29, 2020 respectively.
Also on Saturday in Northern Ireland, another death linked to the virus and 68 new cases were reported.
The Northern Health Department said a total of 1,695,321 doses of vaccine have now been administered in the region.
Anyone over the age of 18 can now register for a vaccine in the North.
Tests and trips
Unvaccinated people who wish to travel on vacation abroad will have to pay for their own Covid-19 PCR tests in private, said Minister of State Ossian Smyth.
When non-essential international travel resumes from July 19, those wishing to travel must either have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or present a negative PCR test before traveling.
The cost of PCR tests can go up to $ 100, while cheaper antigen tests can be less than half.
Speaking on Saturday, Minister of State for eGovernment Ossian Smyth admitted that having to pay for PCR tests would make international travel “expensive”.
“If you want to get tested before you travel you have to take a private test, you can’t go to HSE and say I want to go on vacation, will you test me for free,” he said.
“There are a lot of companies offering testing, it’s a competitive market, and I think a lot of people traveling will be vaccinated,” he said.
“The state is not going to test you for free before you go on vacation,” he told RTÉ radio on Saturday with the Katie Hannon show.
The government has chosen to require PCR tests for inbound and outbound travelers, performed no more than three days before departure. Public health officials have expressed skepticism about the use of alternative antigen tests, due to their lower accuracy and the possibility of false negatives.
People would also need a negative PCR test within three days of their flight back to Ireland. Children under the age of seven will not be required to be tested for Covid-19 prior to travel.
Mr Smyth said the costs of testing for a family would “add significantly” to the cost of international vacations.
The Green Party TD said it agreed the government should consider using cheaper antigen tests for children over the age of seven, rather than PCR tests. Mr Smyth said he would raise the issue with Transport Minister Eamon Ryan.
Sinn Féin TD Darren O’Rourke said the requirement for a PCR test would come at a high cost for people wishing to travel.
“People are looking into the summer, visiting friends and relatives across Europe, and the financial implications are very, very different between PCR and antigen,” he said.
The use of pre-departure antigen testing at airports is expected to be tested over the next month, for essential travel between Dublin and London, before non-essential travel resumes, he said.
“You could do it now for a period of a month and you would have clear information on how this system works,” he said.
Speaking on the radio show, Professor Mary Hogan said antigen testing should be “more embraced” to help reopen the company, but added there had been “reluctance Of health officials to trust the tests.
The new reopening of society and the economy, with hospitality, air travel and live pilot events set to resume, has been overwhelmingly positive, Mr Smyth said.
However, he warned that the government “is not going to rush” back to normalcy because “the last thing we want is to have another lockdown.”