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Spike continues but isolation period reduced down to 10 days

108 new cases in Dublin as virus tightens its grip on capital

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Dubliners enjoying the good weather in St Stephen’s Green

Dubliners enjoying the good weather in St Stephen’s Green

Dubliners enjoying the good weather in St Stephen’s Green

Covid-19 is holding its firm grip on Dublin - which is now at the centre of a new wave of the killer virus.

It comes as the number of people newly-diagnosed with the virus across the country remained high at 208 yesterday but with no new deaths.

The 14-day incidence of the virus now stands at 107.5 per 100,000 people in Dublin South-East and 116 in Dublin North-West.

Nationally, the incidence rate is 45.4 per 100,000 - which compares to 51.1 in the UK and 21.7 in Germany

The spread remains highest in Dublin, with 108 of the new cases in the capital and county.

Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn confirmed, however, the period of isolation for people who test positive has been reduced from 14 to 10 days, based on expert advice.

This timescale will apply from the point of onset of symptoms.

Movements

The 10 days starts from the date of testing if the person is asymptomatic. Self-isolation can only end if the last five days also continue fever-free.

The period for restricting movements for those who are close contacts of a case, or who have travelled to Ireland from a country not on the green list, has not changed and remains at 14 days.

"In addition, it has been agreed that nasal swabs are an acceptable alternative to nasopharyngeal swab for use in children in the community," said Dr Glynn.

"This will hopefully make testing a simpler process for children going forward.

"Covid-19 is an evolving pandemic and the National Public Health Emergency Team is committed to adapting advice and guidelines based on emerging evidence."

Meanwhile, families who have a child who tests positive for Covid-19 and cannot self-isolate need to restrict their movements for 17 days, according to new guidance.

It would mean neither parent could go to work in that time.

The guidance from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre is in recognition that young children with the virus can find it difficult to self-isolate because of their age.

If a child with Covid-19 cannot isolate at home, and there is an ongoing exposure risk, households "should restrict movements for 17 days" from the onset of the child's symptoms or the date of their positive test if they are asymptomatic.

The guidance leaves parents with another headache if their child gets the virus.

If a child is sent for a test for the virus the whole household should restrict their movements until the result is known.

Meanwhile, Professor Martin Cormican, HSE clinical lead on infection control, has suggested contact tracers assessing public health risk should not "downgrade" it if someone outside of a healthcare setting who tests positive for the virus or their contacts were wearing masks.

"At present I do not believe there is a good evidence base or consensus of expert opinion to routinely accept use of face coverings by either the infectious person or by people exposed to the infectious person as a factor in downgrading the public health risk assessment of risk of infection for persons exposed outside of the healthcare setting," he said.

"This should not limit the discretion of a public health specialist to make exceptions to this general approach in the totality of the risk assessment in a specific situation.

"If it is possible to collect and analyse data on the retrospective self-reported use of face coverings in the context of contact tracing it may be possible to build an evidence base for more general use of this as a variable in the future."

Tracing

A spokesperson for the HSE added: "The text forms one part of a draft paper as a basis for discussion with a group of senior medical professionals with a view to developing a HSE position on the issue of face masks, face coverings and visors in non-healthcare settings. This is because it relates to contact tracing.

"It has no immediate impact on the contact tracing process but is intended to contribute to defining an agreed position."