It’s a first glimpse of the new normal.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced details of Phase One of Ireland’s roadmap for restarting the economy, with a small number of workers permitted to go back to work this Monday, May 18th.
With ten deaths and a further 426 additional cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ireland yesterday, we are far from out of the woods, but the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) met on Thursday to discuss its recommendations on the rollout of the five-stage plan, which will continue until August 10th, 2020.
The next review will take place on June 5th.
Today’s update is the first easing of restrictions since lockdown began on March 27th. The Cabinet has approved a new set of rules that will allow approximately 1,500 businesses to reopen next week, provided strict social distancing measures can be adhered to.
Here are the main points announced today for the coming week:
- The advice to stay at home as much as possible remains but starting on Monday, people can travel up to 5km from their homes for exercise.
- Groups of up to four people who do not live in the same household can meet up outdoors, provided they keep a safe distance of two metres.
- Face coverings should be worn on public transport in spaces where social distancing can not be maintained but they are not mandatory.
- Outdoor amenities such as golf courses and tennis courts will be allowed to reopen, provided social distancing rules are adhered to.
- Businesses such as repair shops, garden centres, opticians and garages will be among the first to start trading again, with farmer’s markets given the green light to set up their stalls too.
- Beaches will reopen
- Landscapers and construction workers can also get back to work on Monday, with construction companies planning to roll out retraining programmes to ensure all site employees comply with Covid-19 safety measures.
‘We need to continue our physical distancing and hygiene measures’
In more positive news, according to the latest available figures, 19,470 people have now recovered from coronavirus in Ireland.
Yesterday, Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group confirmed that all indicators of the spread of COVID-19 are decreasing, including the average number of cases per day, number of people in hospital and ICU, admissions to ICU and number of reported deaths per day.
Our world is now full of statistics and numbers. I wanted to share an important one with you – our latest figures show 19,470 people have recovered from #COVIDー19. That is 84.3% of those who have contracted this virus.
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) May 13, 2020
“This is reinforced by our estimate reproduction number which is currently stable between 0.4 and 0.6. We will be monitoring this figure and the overall number of infections in the population very closely over the coming weeks,” he added.
Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said that while signs are positive, it is vital that the public continues to adhere to guidelines on handwashing and limiting contact with others.
“We still want to see progress over the coming days,” said Dr Holohan. “We need to continue our physical distancing and hygiene measures if we are to continue to suppress the spread of the disease.”