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'If we don't take action, we'll be back to May rates'

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Minister Stephen Donnelly

Minister Stephen Donnelly

Minister Stephen Donnelly

Dublin remains in the grip of Covid-19, with 116 of yesterday's 253 new cases of the virus diagnosed in the capital and county.

Most patients who are in hospital with Covid-19 are in Dublin.

It comes as the capital faces new restrictions on home visits, indoor restaurant and pub dining as well as visits to nursing homes for the next three weeks.

The new rules are part of a drive to regain control of the spread of the virus and reduce the rate of infections.

In a message last night Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said over the past two weeks, 2,970 cases had been detected nationally.

For every 100,000 people living in Ireland there were 62 new cases. A few months back when restrictions were being lifted, there were just three cases per 100,000 population.

In Dublin, there have been 1,629 new cases, which means there have been 121 new cases for every 100,000 people.

Cases are widely spread across Dublin. Most areas have an incidence rate of over 100 cases per 100,000 population in the last two weeks.

Half of people in Dublin who have contracted Covid-19 have contracted it via close contact with a confirmed case.

However, 35-40pc of cases are linked with community transmission, meaning we don't know enough about how they got it to link these cases to a defined outbreak or other means of transmission.

More cases are associated with private house outbreaks in Dublin than in the rest of the country. On Friday morning, there were 80 patients with Covid-19 in hospital. Last Friday morning that number was 53.

Of these 80 patients, 51 are in Dublin area hospitals.

The minister said the Cabinet met yesterday to decide how best to respond to the rapid increase in cases in Dublin.

"The number of new cases per day, the number of hospitalisations, including to intensive care, are continuing to rise.

"Modelling projections suggest that in a few weeks, and at the current rate of increase, Dublin would be at the same levels seen in April and May.

"More cases are being seen in older age groups, and several wards in Dublin hospitals have, in the past few days, become dedicated Covid-19 wards.

"There has also been an increase in the number of cases associated with nursing homes in recent weeks.

"The national 14-day incidence rate is 62 per 100,000. In Dublin it is 121 per 100,000. In early July, the national incidence rate was three per 100,000.

Risk

"The trajectory is clear. Our modelling estimates that if the current pattern of disease transmission continues there will be between 500 and 1,000 cases per day one month from now, 50-60pc will be in Dublin.

"I am acutely aware of how difficult these measures are for families, for businesses, for community groups, for sports and for those in the arts.

"If we didn't act, many lives would be put at risk.

"Health services would be put at risk. Many, many more jobs would be put at risk.

"The decision made by Cabinet was based on various factors, including the growing risk the overall volume of disease would result in greater levels of transmission among more vulnerable groups in our society."