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Post-lockdown divide as Dublin is still hardest hit as cases fall

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A woman passes a mural on the side of a hair salon in Dublin as lockdown continues

A woman passes a mural on the side of a hair salon in Dublin as lockdown continues

PA

Minister Simon Harris

Minister Simon Harris

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A woman passes a mural on the side of a hair salon in Dublin as lockdown continues

A post-lockdown divide shows Dublin continues to witness more virus deaths and new cases per week than other counties.

It was the only county to record more than five deaths a week from Covid-19 over the course of a month.

It remains the hardest hit by the virus as the number of people dying across the country has fallen for the seventh successive week up to June 5.

When it comes to new cases, Dublin was the only county to see 20 more people struck by the virus in the same week.

Tragic

Cork was the only other county to record more than 10 new cases during that week.

Donegal, Laois and Kerry recorded fewer than 10 new cases in five weeks, the analysis from the Central Statistics Office showed.

Meanwhile, Sligo and Waterford have had the longest stretch of fewer than 10 new cases a week for six weeks.

The Department of Health reported one death from the virus yesterday, bringing the tragic total to 1,706. A further eight newly diagnosed cases of the virus were announced, meaning 23,303 have contracted the virus here since it first struck.

The virus has claimed the lives of 34 more men than women and it continues to impact the older age groups, with 65pc of all confirmed Covid-19 deaths to date aged 80 years or over.

The latest trends come as nursing homes - which are 28 days free of the virus - announced they will be able to accept visits to residents from today.

Just one person can visit at a time and there are strict regulations implemented, with visits restricted to 30 minutes.

Decisions will be made this week on whether to reduce the two-metre physical-distancing rule to one metre in some areas of hospitality, including pubs, which are expected to be allowed to open from June 29 if they serve food.

Prof Philip Nolan of Maynooth University, who is overseeing the team tracking the virus, told RTE radio yesterday that it may be possible to implement bespoke solutions to distancing.

Health Minister Simon Harris said that a custom-made approach will be needed for the reopening of schools.

He said that "last Thursday we sent draft public health guidance to the Department of Education. They are going to give their input into that this week and hopefully over the next week or two the minister for education will be in a position to publish plans".

Meanwhile, the number of clusters of virus cases in private homes continues to increase.

The number of close contacts reported by people newly diagnosed with the virus has risen to an average of six, up from three in May.

Meanwhile, the HSE is to issue letters to more than 5,000 people in Sligo and Dublin today inviting them to give blood samples to find out if they had contracted coronavirus.

The test will look for antibodies which people who have had the virus can develop.

Those tested will get their results in late August.

The aim is to measure the prevalence of the infection in the State.

The study to investigate Covid-19 infection in people living in Ireland (Scopi) hopes to attract people representative of the wider population in a county with a lot of cases, like Dublin, and Sligo, which has low levels of infection.

The study will be repeated in other areas during the year.