Simon Harris: Covid-19 growth rate has risen slightly but virus is still being suppressed

The rate of growth of Covid-19 in Ireland has "potentially risen slightly", the Health Minister has told the Dáil.
Simon Harris: Covid-19 growth rate has risen slightly but virus is still being suppressed
inister for Health Simon Harris TD Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie
inister for Health Simon Harris TD Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The rate of growth of Covid-19 in Ireland has "potentially risen slightly", the Health Minister has told the Dáil.

Simon Harris said the reproductive rate is now between 0.4 and 0.7, up from last week.

However, Mr Harris added: "We may have seen a slight increase in the number but it still remains below one.

"And that means we are, collectively as a country, effectively suppressing the growth of this virus."

The minister said the actions of individuals will "matter more than ever" as the country moves to Phase 2 of the roadmap, adding that the physical distancing guideline is still two metres, despite hopes that government would half that.

"If we continue, day in and day out to practice what we know works, wash our hands, respect the two-metre rule, limit our close contacts, we will make progress."

Mr Harris said that the country has "interrupted" the spread of Covid-19 but this will be more difficult as the country opens.

He said that he had spoken to the CEO of the National Screening Service this morning and said that a plan to restart diagnostic services was being drawn up.

"There is extensive work ongoing and I expect further progress shortly. I have asked that the Screening Service liaise with advocacy groups. We will have to work with service users and practitioners to ensure they are protected in this Covid world.”

Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly said that because screening services have been suspended, some 170,000 have not been screened. He said GPs and doctors are confused that there is a set date for reopening hair salons, but not screening services.

Minister Harris told the Dáil that 110 residential units, including 61 nursing homes, are now Covid-free, having been the location of clusters.

This means that the facilities have had no new cases for two full incubation periods - 28 days."This shows great progress across our long-term residential facilities, which have been the frontline in the battle against this virus.”

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