Public efforts see fall back in Covid-19 spread

Public efforts see fall back in Covid-19 spread
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Picture: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A further fall back in the spread of Covid-19 and another reduction in cases is down to renewed efforts from the public to keep the virus at bay, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said.

Mr Donnelly also outlined the work done to put a winter plan together to fight the virus and insisted the scale of this was unlike anything seen previously.

World health chiefs have warned countries to be prepared for problems over the winter when the virus is expected to increase again but also the traditional flu season will hit.

In the Dail, Mr Donnelly said: “The R [reproduction]-naught number is now at 1.1, such that it has come back down again in the last ten days, which we are glad to note. The five-day average is also down again now to 16 new cases per day.

“The public health experts believe this stabilisation is linked critically to renewed efforts from the public from around two weeks ago.” 

Efforts are underway to prepare the country for tough months ahead, the Dáil heard.

“We are in the middle of a very comprehensive planning exercise to bring in a winter plan unlike any that has been seen before.” 

Sinn Féin's David Cullinane, noting there was now an economic package, said there is no plan for the health service for Covid-19 going forward.

“What is facing frontline workers and patients over the next number of weeks and months is scary and dangerous,” warned the TD.

Minister Donnelly hopes second surge will be low and localised

Mr Donnelly said he has spoken with the HSE and his department and they are putting together a plan, which will also include elements of Sláintecare.

But the health minister did admit that that public health officials are warning there would be a second surge.

This is based on what they are seeing with the disease around the world. Nonetheless, the hope is that any surge will be low and localised.

Mr Donnelly added: “We are going to have a second surge...We’re hoping it will be low. We’re hoping it might be localised geographically but we have to be prepared within particular communities, particular counties, particular cities, for the prevalence rate to go up.”

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