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Young people helping to suppress Covid-19 numbers, says leading doctor

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Young people have reduced their contacts by half in recent weeks leading to a significant fall in Covid-19 infections, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team ’s Dr Mary Favier.

Dr Favier said there has been a notable change of behaviour among the youth and that the public at large had reduced their close contacts. Moreover, the ban on visiting other households is already having a beneficial effect, she added.

The Department of Health reported 772 new cases of the disease and six deaths on Friday. There have now been a total of 61,059 cases of the disease diagnosed in the State, and 1,908 deaths linked to the virus.

Numbers have declined in absolute terms over the last fortnight after hitting a peak of 1,283 cases on October 18th. The seven-day average peaked at 1,176 cases per day on October 20th and has been falling steadily since. On Friday the seven-day average was 836.7.

Dr Favier, who is Covid-19 adviser to the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) told RTÉ Radio 1’s Saturday with Kathy Hannon programme that the country is now “starting to see the very beginnings of Level 5” restrictions and their impact on the case numbers.

“We are in the best part of nine days into the restrictions. We are now seeing a real tightening in terms of people’s levels of contacts,” she said. “We know from previous experience in March that is what really makes the difference.”

However, she cautioned that while numbers of Covid-19 infections in young are declining, they are increasing in the over-65s which are most affected by the disease.

In Europe

World Health Organisation figures reveal rates of Covid-19 have declined more in the State in the last seven days than in any country in Europe. According to its global dashboard as of Saturday morning, the seven-day rate for Covid-19 declined by almost 28 per cent in the Republic.

The next highest decline in rates is in Belgium which has imposed severe lockdown measures after its health system threatened to be overwhelmed by new cases. Its seven day average is down by 18 per cent.

Spain, which has also been hit hard in the second wave of the virus, has seen a decline in the seven-day rate of 2.36 per cent.

Elsewhere in Europe the situation looks grim with the spikes in numbers over the last week.

The seven-day rate increased by 80 per cent in Italy, 76 per cent in Germany, 50 per cent in France and by 13 per cent in Britain.

The UK is heading rapidly for a million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and could breach that number this weekend.

British prime minister Boris Johnson is reported to be contemplating a national lockdown and will address the nation at 5pm.

The numbers in hospital as of Saturday morning in the Republic are stable. As of 8am there was 322 people in hospital with Covid-19. There were 32 admissions and 26 discharges.

Numbers in hospital spiked in the last month on October 27th when there were 354 people in hospital with Covid-19.

There were 42 people in intensive care units on Saturday morning. Two people were admitted overnight and one discharged. There are 26 people on ventilators.

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