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Parents can attend matches but fears remain as cases on rise

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Acting CMO Dr Ronan Glynn

Acting CMO Dr Ronan Glynn

Colin Keegan

Acting CMO Dr Ronan Glynn

Hundreds of parents have been given the go-ahead to be on the sidelines when their children are playing sport this weekend.

Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said yesterday he "no problem" with parents who feel the need to be present at their children's games despite the rule earlier this week that spectators are banned from sports events.

The clarification will come as a relief to parents who feared they would be forced to wait in their cars during their children's matches.

Dr Glynn also announced that visiting restrictions to nursing homes will be tightened.

Residents can continue to see friends and family but they must be the same group of four people.

He was speaking as infections climbed to a worrying 136 cases yesterday with another death from the disease.

Dublin had the majority of cases at 51, but 24 were in Kildare, which along with Laois and Offaly is hoping to escape lockdown this weekend.

Dr Glynn would not be drawn on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) to Government on whether the counties will have restrictions removed this weekend.

He refused to say if Kildare may have to continue to curtail business and other activities.

Other counties which suffered a high number of cases yesterday include Kilkenny, where there were 12 new infections, and Tipperary, where 11 more people were diagnosed with the disease.

There were 11 cases linked to community transmission where the source could not be found which is particularly concerning.

Pattern

The level of community transmission a day has risen from an average of 10 to 20 or more.

This means the virus is circulating in places that cannot be traced.

The other new infections are spread out in Cork, Limerick, Wexford, Meath, Carlow, Cavan, Donegal, Galway , Mayo , Offaly, Roscommon, Waterford and Wicklow.

Professor Philip Nolan of Maynooth University, who heads the team tracking the virus, said: "There are two concerns now.

"The number of new cases per day remains high and the pattern has changed from large outbreaks in specific settings to much smaller outbreaks widely distributed across the country.

"The measures announced this week asking us to stay apart aim to suppress Covid-19 in the community."

He said the R number had fallen but it is still 1.2.