A further 196 confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been notified to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) , including 107 in Dublin, it has been reported. This brings to 30,360 the total number of cases of the disease in the Republic.
Total fatalities from the virus remains at 1,781.
Along with the 107 in Dublin, there are 12 in Waterford, 11 in Limerick, eight in Wicklow, seven in Meath, seven in Kildare, six in Laois, six in Westmeath, and the remaining 32 cases are located in Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Galway, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Tipperary and Wexford.
Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said there are worrying signs of increased community transmission, with 37 cases. Of today’s cases 27 are in those over the age of 65.
“By limiting our contacts, we limit the opportunity Covid-19 has to spread through the community and ultimately we protect our families, our communities and those who are most vulnerable to the severest impacts of the disease,” he said.
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has appealed to adults to limit their social contacts in order to ensure schools can remain open and people continue working.
He said the new long-term plan for living alongside Covid-19 – to be launched on Monday – will be clear about at what stage local restrictions will kick in if required.
“I am asking people to limit their social contacts, especially adults. We want schools to stay open and we want people to keep working,” he said.
Mr Martin said the Government wanted to ensure there was a clear and consistent approach to dealing with Covid-19.
“I think people are tired and fatigued with this virus,” he told RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland.
Next week’s plan will offer a framework, with “simple messaging” about the different levels that will apply in the event of spikes in numbers. “We are moving into a second phase.”
Mr Martin said he knew it had been difficult and challenging for people and he called on the public to be resilient. He expressed concern at the increasing Covid-19 numbers, but said the Government had “learned lessons from the past” and he hoped Ireland would not see a return of significant outbreaks in nursing homes.
The Taoiseach defended the testing-and-tracing system, saying the State had one of the highest levels of testing in Europe. Locations such as meat plants, direct provision centres and nursing homes remained key, he said.
“We want to protect lives and livelihoods.”
Mr Martin said the Government had “broad trust” in NPHET advice and would listen to any guidance they have.
But the bottom line was that personal behaviour mattered and people needed to reduce their contacts, he said.
With regard to the opening of pubs, Mr Martin said that in counties where there were low virus levels there was a case for reopening. But he added that the decision concerning pub opening always had the caveat about local figures.
Meanwhile, the number of notifications of close contacts identified on the smart phone app for Covid-19 has almost trebled in the past month, in line with an increase in diagnosed cases.
These figures are consistent with the substantial increase in Covid-19 diagnosis over the past six weeks, according to Health Service Executive chief information officer Fran Thomson.
“There is a correlation between the number of positive cases and the number of close contacts as numbers increase on a daily basis. There are peaks and troughs also, depending on the day,” said Mr Thomson.
The digital app will identify a person as a close contact if they have been within 2m of a confirmed case for a period of no less than 15 minutes.
The app, which uses geolocation technology, works as a complement to contact tracers who get a list off the person with a confirmed case of coronavirus of those with whom she or he has been in close contact.