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Coronavirus: 254 more cases and three further deaths reported

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There have been 254 more cases and three further deaths confirmed, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). Of these cases 136 are in Dublin.

Figures are being watched closely in the capital. Earlier on Wednesday, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said there is a “strong” and “very real” possibility that Dublin will be moved to level three in the Government’s plans for coping with the Covid-19 pandemic.

This would mean more severe restrictions for the capital, where there is concern about the increased spread of the disease in recent weeks. Latest figures show that incidence of the disease in the capital is running at about twice the national average.

Dublin has recorded an average of 104 cases per 100,000 people in the two weeks to Monday, compared to an average of 53 per 100,000 nationally. Dublin North West had the highest incidence in the State at 152.2 cases per 100,000, whereas Sligo’s was the lowest at 9.2 per 100,000.

The figures prompted Dr Ronan Glynn, the acting chief medical officer, to warn the Government last week that the capital had become a “disease reservoir” which could put the whole State at risk.

In a letter last week but released today Dr Glynn suggested that if left unchecked cases could rise in the capital to up to 300 per day by the end of September.

In his advice to Government last week, Dr Glynn said Covid-19 infections in Dublin have the “potential to transmit widely and quickly both within Dublin and to other areas of the country”.

However, he stopped short of suggesting that Dublin should move to Level 3 of the Government’s five-level Living with Covid-19 plan as has been suggested by some members of the Cabinet. The county was put at Level 2 yesterday but with some additional restrictions added on.

He said this was because most cases in Dublin were concentrated in young people, meaning the rates of hospitalisations are low and deaths have stabilised.

Dublin remains at Level 2, along with the rest of the State, on the Government’s five point Covid-19 scale but extra restrictions have been announced and the expectation is that the county could be moved to Level 3 next week.

Mr Donohoe said people living in Dublin who are considering going on holidays elsewhere in the State should reschedule and that those from the county planning to have or attend weddings outside the capital should reconsider this.

His colleague, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath, said there has not been an instruction for the public not to visit Dublin, but that people should avoid doing so unless it is necessary.

Level 2 limits the number of visitors allowed in a home to six people from two or three other households, up to 15 people can meet outdoors from up to three households, outdoor sports training is permitted for up to 15 people (except for professional teams) and up to 100 people can watch sports events outdoors and 50 people indoors.

Level 3 limits visitors to a home or garden to people from one other household, travel is restricted to your county or region apart from for work, education or essential reasons, attendances at weddings is reduced from 50 to 25, no indoor gatherings (including meetings, theatres, cinemas, arts venues) are permitted, only individual indoor sports training is permitted and visits to long-term residential care facilities, including nursing homes, are suspended.

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