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Holohan warns 'we can't take foot off gas' despite Covid-19 spread slowing

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Dr Tony Holohan

Dr Tony Holohan

Dr Tony Holohan

Hopes are rising that some of the restrictive measures in place to curb coronavirus may be eased on May 5.

New figures show that as a result of the virtual lockdown the spread of the virus has slowed, with admissions to hospitals and intensive care now stabilising.

However, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said it will still not be possible to take the "foot off the gas" and signalled any easing of measures will be modest.

Professor Philip Nolan, of Maynooth University, who is leading a team advising the Department of Health on the patterns of the coronavirus spread, said his modelling is showing four reproductive (R0) numbers, illustrating the different stages of the disease in Ireland over the past six weeks.

He referred to this RO number, which tells us how many other people will be infected by someone who has coronavirus.

The figure needs to be under one, and "it currently stands at between 0.7 and 1.0, which means current restrictions are successfully suppressing the disease".

Another 43 people - 22 males and 21 females - diagnosed with Covid-19 in Ireland have died. The median age of the reported deaths is 84.

Laboratory

Twenty-seven of the victims were reported as having underlying health conditions.

There have now been 486 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.

With the latest figures from a Germany laboratory included, there is a total of 13,271 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

The HSE is working to identify any contacts patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

Yesterday's data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) showed that analysis of the 12,425 cases as of midnight on Tuesday revealed:

• 55pc are female and 45pc male, with 425 clusters involving 2,451 cases.

• The median age of confirmed cases is 48.

• 2,026 cases have been hospitalised.

• Of those hospitalised, 284 cases have been admitted to ICU.

• 3,090 cases are associated with healthcare workers.

• Dublin has the highest number of cases at 6,337 (51pc), followed by Cork with 916 cases (7pc).

• Of those for whom transmission status is known, community transmission acc-ounts for 51pc, close contact for 43pc and travel abroad for the remaining 6pc.

Dr Holohan said: "The data clearly shows that there are two very different experiences of Covid-19 in Ireland today.

"In the population at large, the virus is contained and effectively suppressed.

"All of our efforts now need to be on extinguishing Covid-19 in our community residential settings, including nursing homes."