Calls to allow open-air dining and sports after figures show just 0.1pc of Covid cases linked to outdoor transmission

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The chances of catching Covid from somebody outdoors is tiny, newly released Irish figures have shown.

he data, reported in The Irish Times, has led to calls for sports and other outdoor activities to be permitted again sooner than currently planned.

The newspaper reported that just one case of Covid-19 in every thousand in Ireland is traced to outdoor transmission.

Of the 232,164 cases of Covid-19 recorded in the State up to March 24 of this year, 262 were linked to outdoor transmission – or 0.1pc of the total – according to the data supplied by the State’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

There were 42 outbreaks linked to outdoor gatherings, with one such outbreak accounting for seven cases. An outbreak is classified as two or more cases in the same setting.

Construction sites accounted for 21 outdoor-linked outbreaks, followed by 20 linked to sports and fitness activities.

The figures back up international studies and led to calls for sports and other outdoor activities to be allowed again in Ireland sooner than is currently planned.

However, the HPSC pointed out that it was not possible to pinpoint where exactly transmission occurred and that in 20pc of all cases the source of the infection was not known.

Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan said the figures were evidence for outdoor activities to be allowed sooner rather than later.

“We now have scientific evidence that there is a very reduced risk of Covid transmission outdoors. We need to follow this science by permitting outdoor sports and activities,” he said.

Green Party councillor for Blackrock, Co Dublin, Séafra Ó Faoláin said: “We need to reclaim as much space as possible for the summer for people to meet outdoors so that pubs and restaurants can serve people safely.”

Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins said: “Surely all outdoor sports and activities including outdoor hospitality can restart with immediate effect in light of this new scientific data.

GAA star and founder of ourgame.ie Shane Stapleton joined other voices on Twitter, adding: “Outdoor transmission accounts for 0.1% of State’s Covid-19 cases. Time for government/NPHET to open up outdoor activities for all. Obvious caveat is to not gather indoors either side of it.”

Under Ireland’s roadmap for reopening announced last week, from April 12 people can meet others from one other household outdoors, but not in household gardens.

From this date, the 5km restriction on travel for exercise or recreation will be extended to travel within a person’s home county, while residential construction may recommence.

Intercounty senior GAA training can restart from April 19, along with some other approved elite athletes.

From April 26, outdoor sports facilities for non-team sports such as tennis and golf can reopen, along with outdoor visitor attractions such as zoos, pet farms and heritage sites.

Underage non-contact outdoor training can also restart from this date.

However, there is still no firm date for the restart of outdoor hospitality and beer gardens, but it could happen in May.

Online Editors

Source: Irish News