'We're not there yet,' says expert who thinks country entering hardest part in eliminating Covid-19

'We're not there yet,' says expert who thinks country entering hardest part in eliminating Covid-19
The 40 new cases were reported yesterday is the highest number since mid-June.

An infectious disease specialist is warning we cannot relax about Covid-19 after 40 new cases were reported yesterday.

That is the highest number since mid-June and the median age was 33.

Yesterday, Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer, said: "75% of cases are under 45 years of age, with a median age of 33 years.

"At least half the cases were known close contacts of other confirmed cases.

“It remains vital that if a person is concerned that they have been in contact with a confirmed case or is experiencing symptoms associated with Covid-19, that they isolate and come forward for testing without delay.”

This morning, Professor Sam McConkey from the Royal College of Surgeons said the danger is these young people could pass it on to the older generation.

Prof. McConkey said: "This is very similar to what we had in February and March before we had large numbers of elderly people getting it, who sadly passed away from it.

"This is the grumbling of the virus among young healthy people who are often minimally symptomatic.

"The risk is they then inevitably meet with their parents, grandparents and older people and then in two or four weeks time it all goes wild in older people again."

"The young people are unlikely to die from it, as we know, but they're likely to spread it around.

"So it's a matter really of our whole population keeping together, keeping on message, keeping social distancing, masks and so on".

Prof. McConkey told Newstalk Breakfast that the country is entering the hardest part in eliminating the virus.

He said: "I think we can't relax, and I think some of us feel it's very few deaths now and our numbers are down a lot from March and April, so lets just relax.

"I think that's very much the wrong message.

I would say that in any process like this, getting the last one or two percent of control - the last little bit is actually the hardest.

"The easiest bit comes first and it happens quickly, but these last one or two percent of cases transmission we've really struggled to get this down - where I would like to see this - is zero cases of unexplained community transmission.

"We may still have some cases coming in from abroad because we're open to let people come in, in certain circumstances, but I'd like to see no cases of unexplained community transmission.

"And we're not there yet, we're still seeing this.

"And unfortunately as long as we've got unexplained community transmission on the island, then there will still be a risk of it going into a big explosion like we had in February and March - and that means we've to keep all our social distancing measures.

"Whereas if we get down to zero and control it coming back into our country, then we could really be like New Zealand - have open soccer and rugby pitches and stadia full of people again and get back more to normal".

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