| 10.5°C Dublin

Timely boost for kids as playgrounds to reopen

  • Camps also expected to get go-ahead in easing of measures

Close

Deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, confirmed that there was one new cluster of the virus in a direct provision centre

Deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, confirmed that there was one new cluster of the virus in a direct provision centre

Colin Keegan

Deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, confirmed that there was one new cluster of the virus in a direct provision centre

Children are expected to be allowed some screen-free fun in summer camps and playgrounds from next week as public health experts meet today to decide on the next phase of exiting the lockdown.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan would not be drawn on the specific recommendations to be made today.

However, he said his expert team will look at a range of measures to ease the burden of lockdown restrictions on children and their parents.

The GAA Cul camps are expected to be held but all activities will have to be carried out with strict safeguards.

Agenda

"Government is going to consider and accept them before they become part of any easing of restrictions," Dr Holohan said.

He confirmed the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), who meet today, will have the easing of measures affecting children on its agenda, as well as matters such as the resumption of some form of visiting at nursing homes.

There is nothing in the figures at this point to indicate that Nphet will not be able to recommend that phase two of the exit from lockdown roadmap goes ahead.

He was speaking as a further three people died from the virus which, while tragic, signalled that the death toll is falling along with new cases of the virus. There have now been 1,659 Covid-19 related deaths in the Republic.

The number of new diagnoses also remained low at 47 cases. Around four in 10 people who are diagnosed with the virus do not know where they were infected, while well over half are close contacts of another person who has tested positive. Figures also show that a number of counties saw no new people diagnosed with the disease between May 21 and 28.

They include counties Kerry, Sligo, Wexford, Donegal and Meath.

Although the diagnosis of new cases is unpredictable, infectious disease consultant in Beaumont Hospital Dr Sam McConkey has pointed out that it is too early for people to travel from counties like Dublin and Cork, where cases of the virus are highest, to counties which have fewer infections.

The latest figures from the Department of Health show that of the 25,064 cases confirmed as of midnight last Monday, over 3,298 cases - the equivalent of 13pc - have been hospitalised.

Of these, 409 cases have been admitted to intensive care units. The number of confirmed cases among healthcare workers has breached 8,000, accounting for nearly 32pc of people who caught the infection.

Dublin has the highest number of cases at 12,093, making up 48pc, followed by Cork with 1,517 cases, accounting for 6pc, and Kildare with 1,419 cases.

There has been no increase in clusters of the virus in residential care facilities including nursing homes.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said there has been one new cluster in a direct provision centre in the week up to midnight on Saturday night.

A further 123 cases of the virus were diagnosed among workers in meat plants.

Among the Roma community there has been a rise of eight cases in the past week.

Meanwhile, a majority of people now believe that others are ignoring the two-metre physical distancing rule, according to a new poll.

The poll, commissioned by the Department of Health, shows just 40pc of people think others are obeying the safe distancing gap - a drop of 11pc in the last two weeks.

Battle

The poll shows a reduction in fear among the population about the coronavirus - down to 5.4 out of a scale one to 10 compared to 5.6 a week earlier.

More people also believe the worst is over - up to 55pc from 49pc the previous week.

Fewer people also believe the country will be hit by a second wave of the virus - dropping to 59pc from 63pc in a week.

The results show the battle ahead to maintain a level of focus among a significant proportion of the population as restrictions ease over the summer.

Dr Glynn said that 91pc of people who caught the virus in the Republic have recovered.

"This is positive news and confirms the expectation that most people who get Covid-19 will recover," he said.

"However, it remains the case that this is an unpredictable virus," he added.