Covid-19: 13 deaths and 738 new cases as Ireland marks one year of pandemic

This weekend marks a year since the first case of Covid-19 in the Republic and Dr Ronan Glynn says the country is now in a much better place.
Covid-19: 13 deaths and 738 new cases as Ireland marks one year of pandemic

Capel Street during the Covid 19 Coronavirus pandemic in Dublin’s city centre.

There have been 13 additional Covid-related deaths, it has been confirmed this evening.

Of these deaths, 10 occurred in February, one in January, one in October and another one remains under investigation.

The youngest person to have died was 55 and the oldest was 92 years old.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has also been notified of 738 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The average age of today's case numbers is 32 years old while 71% of the cases are people under the age of 45.

Dublin accounts for the highest number of cases with 311 while there are 54 cases located in Limerick, 36 in Cork, 34 in Offaly and 33 in Donegal. The remaining 270 cases are spread across 20 other counties.

As of 8am this morning, there are 550 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of which 135 are in ICU. There have been 27 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

This morning, HSE Chief Paul Reid said healthcare teams are exhausted but getting their vaccines and "great signs" of it reducing transmission is giving them a second wind.

"We are winning, it's just not over yet," he said.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer says he is hopeful people will be able to go on staycations this summer.

This weekend marks a year since the first case of Covid-19 in the Republic and Dr Ronan Glynn says the country is now in a much better place.

Dr Glynn says the trends are heading in the right direction and is urging people to keep up their efforts to suppress the virus.

"I'm very hopeful that if we can continue to suppress the case numbers down through March that we will be able to give people much greater levels of certainty about the spring and summer ahead by the end of March.

"But it is all contingent on us managing to keep things under control over the coming weeks in particular."

Today's numbers come following clashes in Dublin city centre as Gardaí prevented anti-lockdown protesters from making their way to St Stephen's Green park this afternoon.

Over 250,000 people have received first vaccine dose 

Over a quarter of a million people across the country have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The latest figures up to Wednesday show just over 136,000 people have been fully vaccinated.

The rollout to over 85s is continuing today with hundreds of patients getting their jab at hubs in Cork and Galway.

Some GPs are still experiencing issues with the delivery of doses, like Dublin-based doctor Nina Byrnes.

"What is frustrating is we were trying to get our delivery date confirmed but we had no way of doing that," said Dr Byrne.

"We had people ringing us saying 'my friend over 85 was vaccinated two weeks ago' and we kept trying to say to people that we are pretty sure it's going to be the first week of March but it was getting to the end of last week and we had no date."

Gardaí to conduct checks on people reported to be ignoring self-quarantine rules 

Gardaí are carrying out house checks this weekend to ensure people entering the country are self-quarantining.

Officers will conduct checks on those who have been reported as not engaging with the Department of Health monitoring process.

A further 13 countries - including Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela - have been added to the list of "high-risk" countries.

There are now a total of 33 countries on it - and anyone arriving from those places has to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Failure to comply with the regulations may result in a €2,500 fine or six months in prison, or both.

A leading immunologist has urged the government to "get on top of" travel restrictions to keep new Covid variants out of the country.

Kingston Mills, an immunology professor at Trinity College Dublin, said strict travel rules are crucial.

"We really, really have to get on top of the travel and stop the importation of more variants because if we don't do that then our vaccine programme could be under threat in the short term.

"I think the travel restrictions are integral to preventing the problems with the variants."

Nphet don't want any further school closures Ronan Glynn says Nphet does not want to see any more school closures due to the impact of Covid-19.

Around 300,000 students in the first four years of primary school and Leaving Cert pupils will return to class on Monday.

Dr Glynn has asked parents not to organise play dates and to minimise their contact with other people as schools re-open.

"The key concern for Nphet around the re-opening of schools has been that it would signal to wider society that there can be other forms of mobility and other forms of interaction," said Dr Glynn.

"We want to get our children back to school and, crucially, we want them to stay back at school on this occasion. We don't want to see anymore closures because of the profound impact that that has on children."

Two deaths and 184 Covid-19 cases in the North as over 500,000 vaccine doses given 

A further two coronavirus connected deaths were reported in the North today.

Another 184 individuals have tested positive for the virus, according to the latest update from the Department of Health.

On Saturday morning there were 307 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 36 were in intensive care.

The more recent deaths reported by officials brings Northern Ireland’s death toll to 2,052 since the outbreak of Covid-19 a year ago.

A total of 112,357 people in the region has contracted the virus since the first case was reported last February.

More than half a million people have received a Covid-19 vaccine, of which 505,188 were first doses and 31,898 were second doses.

While Northern Ireland faces ongoing lockdown restrictions into April, its seven-day incidence rate fell to 89.8 per 100,000 people.

It is the lowest incidence rate since September, figures show.

The Minister for Health Robin Swann urged people to stay Covid-free this weekend.

“I would again urge everyone to maintain social distancing from others and stay local if they are heading outdoors,” Mr Swann said.

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