Ireland has 'slipped' and lost week of progress in battle against virus

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Ireland has “slipped” in keeping the number of coronavirus cases down and needs to catch up with the last week of progress it has lost.

That’s according to Dr Tony Holohan, who admitted that the public has become “very tired” in the battle to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The R number has risen from 0.5 to between 0.7 and 0.9, bringing it close to the vital number 1 that we need to keep it below to stop the rate of spread increasing.

The chief medical officer told a press conference today that progress made in the first four weeks of level five restrictions has stalled.

And in a stark warning to the public, he said that the number of social contacts needs to decrease across the board.

He said: “[The] basic message is that we’re having too much social contact in all settings across the country.”

Dr Holohan said it’s about getting where we’d like to be at the end of this month, but that does not mean we need another week of Level 5.

He continued: “We’ve got ground to make up. Everyone really needs to redouble their efforts.

“We’ve slipped a little in terms of keeping down that level of average number of contacts in the last week. Do we really need to be meeting up with people?

“Obviously people are tired of this. Many people have kept up a physical distance from loved ones, community, family. People are understandably very tired. So that plays into it.”

Four more people have died and there are 429 new cases, according to the latest figures.

Professor Philip Nolan, chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said: “Case numbers have now stopped declining and as a consequence the reproduction number has increased to an estimated 0.7- 0.9.

“The data strongly suggests that a small, recent increase in the level of social contacts has led to the increase in reproduction number we see now.”

Of the new cases 173 are in Dublin, 44 are in Cork, 26 are in Donegal, 22 are in Louth, 21 are in Kildare and the remaining 143 cases are spread across the remaining 20 counties.

The death toll now stands at 2,010 and the total number of cases is 69,473.

As of 2pm Thursday there were 290 COVID patients in hospital, with 33 of those in intensive care.

Dr Holohan said: “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.

“We now have two weeks to get back on track.

“Work from home, stay at home and follow public health advice to get us to a reproduction number below 0.5 by December 1st.”

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Source: Dublin News