Dr Ronan Glynn defends the latest restrictions on sporting events 

Dr Ronan Glynn defends the latest restrictions on sporting events 
Dr Ronan Glynn, acting CMO, said he was open to meeting the GAA and sporting organisations to explain the reasons behind the restrictions. File picture Stephen Collins / Collins Dublin

Acting chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, said he was open to meeting the GAA and sporting organisations to explain the reasons why events are behind closed doors until at least September 13.

It was the concern about the potential for congregation of crowds and trying to decrease increases in socialisation, he said, not the sport or activity itself.

At the evening briefing of the National Public Health Emergency Team, Dr Glynn would not comment on reports Laois and Offaly were set to emerge from lockdown, but that Kildare was not.

That was a matter for the Government to comment upon, he said, after considering the advice that NPHET had given.

There were 136 confirmed new cases, with one death. Of the new cases, 57 are confirmed to be associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case. Some 11 cases were identified as community transmission.

The new cases included 51 in Dublin, 24 in Kildare, 12 in Kilkenny, and 11 in Tipperary.

Professor Philip Nolan, chair of NPHET's Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said the reproduction number is currently at or above 1.2 — the number of people to which an infected person will pass the disease.

"There are two concerns now, the number of new cases per day remains high, and the pattern has changed from large outbreaks in specific settings to much smaller outbreaks widely distributed across the country," he said.

He said that schools are safe and that concern was understandable but misplaced about sending children back.

"Unlike influenza, schools are not a big driver of Sars-CoV-2 transmission, so the truth is, where we see children being infected is in households," he said.

"We need to prevent adult to adult transmission of the virus. If you do that, you prevent it getting into households, you prevent kids being infected, so the attention is in the wrong place.

"The truth is that we see children being infected in households. The real measures that need to be taken here are to prevent adult to adult transmission. The intention is in the wrong place. 

"Schools are a safe place and very well run by principals to ensure that infection doesn't occur. It is the household we need to concentrate on," Prof Nolan said.

Dr Siobhán Ni Bhriain, consultant psychiatrist and Integrated Care Lead HSE, said the plan was still to issue guidance to schools before they go back next week.

It would be very difficult for parents of four children to have to wash uniforms every night, but a basic guide that the uniforms be clean should suffice, she said.

The HSE published a study that examined how many people have been infected in Ireland by analysing antibodies. 

The study estimates that that 59,500 people in Ireland between 12 and 69 had been infected up to mid-July, or three times more than those detected through official notification.

Based on these results, HPSC estimates a national prevalence rate — or the percentage of people infected in Ireland — of 1.7%, the HSE said. 

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