Ireland holding 'steady' with case numbers, says UCC professor

Ireland holding 'steady' with case numbers, says UCC professor

Fiona Barnes of of Costelloe+Costelloe gets ready for reopening following an easing of Covid-19  restrictions in Dublin’s city centre. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

A UCC professor believes the country is holding "steady" with virus numbers at the moment.

Pathogen Ecology Chair, Gerry Killeen was speaking after 408 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed along with one additional death.

There are 110 patients in hospital with the virus, including 33 in intensive care.

Prof Killeen said most people across the country have been following the public health rules.

"We would all prefer to be in a better place. There is not reason why we couldn't be down into the dozens by now but things could be a lot worse," said Prof Killeen.

"A lot of that is just down to most people applying so much common sense. Cork city all this week was super quiet.

"The vast majority of people are doing very sensible things and I think the next couple of months are so important."

Prof Killeen's comments come ahead of a further easing of restrictions tomorrow which will see intercounty travel permitted once again.

From Monday, a three households of up to six people can meet outdoors - including in private gardens.

As part of the 'vaccine bonus', fully vaccinated people can meet indoors with one other fully vaccinated people with a maximum of three households.

Fully vaccinated people may also meet indoors with unvaccinated people from one household.

Hairdressers, barbers and beauticians will reopen their doors from Monday while non-essential retail can offer a click-and-collect service or in-store shopping by appointment.

Meanwhile, a group that speaks for nursing home residents has said the phasing out of serial testing over the coming weeks is an important moment.

The HSE will remove the widespread testing in care homes as latest data shows a positivity rate of just 0.1 percent following vaccination.

The testing will only stop at facilities that meet very strict criteria including a high level of vaccination among residents and staff.

Sage Advocacy says it is very important that infection prevention and control measures remain in place.

However, Executive Director Sarah Lennon says the families of those in nursing homes will be pleased with the move.

"A lot of residents and relatives have told us of the disconnect between them and their families," said Ms Lennon.

"There may even be family members who have been born during the pandemic that these residents have never met.

"So the fact that we are easing the testing is a really important moment for nursing home residents."

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