The next two weeks are crucial.
That’s the message from health experts this weekend as the country prepares for the lifting of Level 5 restrictions on December 1st.
As An Garda Síochána prepare to ramp up foot patrols in the city over the coming days, a further 429 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the past 24 hours, with four deaths from the disease.
Of the latest cases, there were 173 in Dublin, 44 in Cork, 26 in Donegal, 22 in Louth and 21 in Kildare, with the remaining 143 cases spread across 20 other counties.
Case numbers had been declining at a rate of 5 – 7% per day since the end of October, bringing the reproduction number as low as 0.6. Now experts have warned that case numbers have now stopped declining and the reproduction number has increased to an estimated 0.7 – 0.9.
According to NPHET Chair Professor Philip Nolan, a “small, recent increase in the level of social contacts” has led to an increase in the reproduction number.
‘Our progress has stalled’
“In our objective to use a six-week period to drive down COVID-19 infection in the community, our progress has stalled in the last week,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.
“We now have two weeks to get back on track. Drive down the disease by limiting the number of daily contacts you have. Work from home, stay at home and follow public health advice to get us to a reproduction number below 0.5 by December 1st.”
Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer said that deaths associated with Covid-19 have increased by 18% in the European region over the past fortnight.
“Last week alone, Europe registered over 29,000 new deaths.” said Dr Glynn.
“That is one person dying every 17 seconds. We have made significant progress in Ireland over recent weeks, but the disease and its risks have not changed. Please continue in your efforts to follow public health advice, limit the transmission of COVID-19 in Ireland and protect those who are most vulnerable in our families and across our communities.”