No evidence of Covid-19 border spill-over, says NI chief medic

Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer has said there is no evidence to suggest there has been a “leakage” of the Covid-19 infection across the border.
No evidence of Covid-19 border spill-over, says NI chief medic

Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer has said there is no evidence to suggest there has been a “leakage” of the Covid-19 infection across the border.

Dr Michael McBride was responding to data showing a relatively high prevalence of the disease in a number of border counties compared to other rural areas in the state.

“I don’t think that relates to spill over across the border one way or the other,” Dr McBride told Stormont’s Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday.

Outlining his reasoning, Dr McBride said the public across the island had been adhering to social distancing rules and the spread of the epidemic had been “broadly similar” in both jurisdictions.

“So I don’t believe that there is leakage of infection across the border for those reasons, there’s absolutely no evidence to suggest that,” he said.

A regional breakdown of cases earlier this week showed 626 cases of Covid-19 in Co Cavan and 373 in Co Monaghan.

Co Cavan had the highest incidence rate of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland per 100,000 of the population, followed by Dublin and Monaghan.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has already said he does not think that relatively high incidences of the virus in several Irish border counties was linked to people with the infection travelling in from Northern Ireland.

On Tuesday evening, Dr Colm Henry, chief clinical officer at the HSE, said a number of factors could be responsible for the high incidence rate in Co Cavan.

He said there had been an outbreak in a hospital in the area and some other outbreaks in residential care facilities and congregated settings.

“There were certain outbreaks there that led to much bigger numbers and a bigger impact on what is smaller populated county,” he told the daily Covid-19 briefing.

“It doesn’t appear to be directly related to the fact that it is a border county.”

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