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Easing of lockdown blamed for surge in outbreaks in homes

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Hospital outbreaks are under control

Hospital outbreaks are under control

Hospital outbreaks are under control

The number of outbreaks of coronavirus infection in private homes has more than doubled in a month, following the easing of lockdown.

Figures show there were 358 outbreaks in private homes by midnight on Saturday - up from 151 on May 20, as the Government began to take the first steps in reopening the country.

The cases of the virus emerging in people's homes have been contributed to by people's greater movement and mixing, with more members of households bringing the virus back to their own sitting room.

The figure compares with 260 outbreaks of Covid-19 in nursing homes and 102 in hospitals, which are now under control.

Crisis

Overall, the numbers catching the virus remain low and 10 new cases were confirmed yesterday - bringing the total since the crisis began to 23,391.

However, another three people died of the virus and the toll now stands at 1,720.

Over the past week, 18,368 tests were carried out and 97 people tested positive at a rate of just 0.5pc.

"While we now have a robust testing system in place, the success of this system is dependent on people isolating and coming forward to their GP as soon as they experience symptoms," said chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan.

"Cough, fever, shortness of breath, change in smell or taste, flu-like symptoms should be treated as Covid-19 until a GP assessment or test deems otherwise.

"If you are experiencing these symptoms, do not go to work or socialise. Self-isolate in your household and contact your GP by phone without delay."

A raft of areas of social and economic life will reopen from next Monday as the country marks a crucial stage in the exit from lockdown.

However, a poll commissioned by the Department of Health has revealed a substantial number believe the shelving of restrictions to reduce transmission of the virus is moving too fast.

The poll showed the proportion of people who believe the accelerated roadmap out of lockdown is moving too quickly, has risen from 25pc to 29pc since the planned reopenings from June 29 were announced last week.

There has also been a drop in the numbers saying it was happening at "about the right pace" - down from 56pc to 55pc.

Some 62pc believe there will be a second wave of the virus and there is growing concern about the infection.

Meanwhile, a new study from the World Health Organisation said women who have confirmed or suspected Covid-19 should be encouraged to initiate or continue with breastfeeding.

Benefits

Mothers should be advised that the benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks for transmission, said WHO.

Mother and baby should be enabled to remain together and practice skin-to-skin contact.

This is especially important immediately after birth and during the start of breastfeeding whether they or the infants have are a confirmed or suspected virus case.

Maternity hospitals here have previously revealed a number of women who were positive for the virus gave birth to babies without complications.