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'We can suppress this virus': Number of people infected by a confirmed case of Covid-19 is 0.45

The reproductive rate of the virus is 0.45, Minister for Health Simon Harris has said.

Minister for Health Simon Harris was speaking in the Dáil this afternoon.
Minister for Health Simon Harris was speaking in the Dáil this afternoon.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

THE REPRODUCTIVE RATE of Covid-19 in Ireland is around 0.45, Minister for Health Simon Harris told the Dáil this afternoon. 

The reproductive rate of the virus refers to how many other people a confirmed case goes on to infect.

Harris told TDs this afternoon that “we have shown as a country we can suppress this virus”.

“We must take it one step at a time, we are only in Phase One,” Harris said. 

Bringing the reproductive rate – or the R0 – below 1.0, and keeping it there, is a key way of slowing the spread of the virus. 

Since Monday, there has been a rise in activity across the country as some businesses re-opened as part of the first phase of the government’s post-pandemic roadmap. 

There were also questions in the Dáil about when people will be fully able to access routine healthcare.

“We know Covid-19 will be with us for some time. Getting back to normal will not mean get back to the way we were before in our health services,” Harris said. 

“The HSE intends to publish a plan for non-Covid services within two weeks.”

Harris said he wants screening services for cancer and other health conditions to resume as soon as possible.

“The HSE are currently developing capacity planning for the ongoing delivery of non Covid-19 services. They will examine the issue of screening as part of the non -Covid healthcare plan,” he said. 

“I want to be in a position to recommence our population screening programmes as soon as possible. It has to be safe for patients and staff. We all appreciate screening involves close contact which presents problems for staff in terms of physical distancing.”

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He urged patients showing symptoms to take action.

“If you’re symptomatic today, please, please, please go and see your GP,” Harris said.

Harris also told the Dáil that the government would be launching a Covid-19 nursing home expert panel.

“It will consist of four public health experts who will chair the group, a geriatrician, a senior nurse and a public interest representative,” he said. 

The panel is expected to start its work at the end of June. 

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