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Coronavirus: 429 new cases as public health officials ‘less optimistic’ than last week

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A further 429 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on Wednesday. This brings to 36,155 the total number of cases of the disease in the Republic.

Some 189 of the new cases are in Dublin, and 60 in Cork. One further death was reported to NPHET, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,804.

The reproduction number, an indicator of how widely the disease is spreading, now stands at between 1.2 and 1.4, according to Prof Philip Nolan, chair of the NPHET epidemiological modelling advisory group. A reproduction number of less than 1 means an epidemic is dying out; a figure greater than 1 signals it is spreading.

Prof Nolan said there was a “very precarious situation” in Dublin and a continuing increase in cases across the rest of the country. He said while there were some positive signs of stabilisation last week, there was an increase in recent days and he is “less optimistic” today than last week.

Of the new cases, 203 are men and 226 are women. Sixty-five per cent are aged under 45 years. Officials say 45 per cent are associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of cases, while 77 cases involved community transmission.

There are currently 130 people with Covid-19 in hospital, including 15 admission in the past 24 hours, according to acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn.

Earlier on Wednesday, Dr Glynn said there needs to be a “significant improvement in Dublin” in terms of Covid-19 case numbers in the coming days,

He was speaking at an Oireachtas Covid Committee hearing on Wednesday morning attended by members of NPHET.

Dr Glynn said although he would only expect the measures put in place for the capital to have an effect now, “we need to see a significant improvement in Dublin in the coming days, we’re not seeing it yet.”

Asked later in the session by Dún Laoghaire TD Jennifer Carroll McNeill whether he would recommend the extension of the current restrictions if they were expiring tomorrow, Dr Glynn said he would. “The optimist in me would say Dublin appears to be stabilising, but that’s an optimistic note. We do need to see what happens in the next three to four days in particular,” he said.

Dr Glynn said the disease remains widely dispersed across the capital, in a number of different settings, which he said is positive in one sense in that there aren’t any major large outbreaks. “On the other hand it makes it more difficult to control because there isn’t one obvious target,” he said.

He added that in the first instance, he wanted to see the number of cases in Dublin not going up day on day, strongly emphasising people across the capital need to be reducing discretionary social activities and not going to work unless it is essential.

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