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Taoiseach warns local restrictions may be needed in four counties as cases rise

Martin said Nphet is “very concerned” about the rise in cases in urban areas.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said that localised restrictions may be implemented to stem the rise of Covid-19 cases in cities such as Cork, Waterford, Limerick and, Galway.

Martin said the National Public Health Emergency Team is “very concerned” about the rise in cases in urban areas and may advise on localised restrictions rather than county-wide restrictions. 

Speaking to reporters in Cork, Martin said:

“I was speaking to the CMO (Dr Glynn) over the week and places like Cork city has been going up in a straight line and that is a worry – 20 to 30 cases a day.

“We are flagging that and making people aware those are the danger areas, however, Cork is coming from a low base and there is an opportunity to stabilise it.

“Nphet will advise us in terms of any restrictions that may have to come in for other areas. They are concerned about urban centres, about Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, particularly as universities and Institutes of Technology reopen in the coming weeks.

“That is a concern where you have high-density populations, the virus can thrive in such situations.”

He added that any further restrictions will be a matter for Nphet to advise but that people in danger areas can avoid going into level three “if we adhere to the guidance and all of us personally and collectively do things that will prevent the virus from growing”. 

Tweet by @Micheál Martin Source: Micheál Martin/Twitter

Level 3 restrictions kick in from midnight tonight in Donegal, lasting for three weeks.

Donegal’s 14-day incidence rate is now higher than Dublin, with 148.2 positive cases per 100,000 population, and Dublin recording 144.5 positive cases per 100,000.

In neighbouring Derry and Strabane council area, the rate in the last seven days is 141.4 positive cases per 100,000 population – the highest in Northern Ireland.

Given Donegal’s proximity to Northern Ireland, Dr Ronan Glynn was in contact with his counterpart in Northern Ireland and held a meeting today to discuss cross-border cooperation. 

“Given the current number of new cases in Donegal and neighbouring areas of NI in Derry, Strabane and Fermanagh we would appeal to everyone to avoid all but necessary travel across the border,” Dr Ronan Glynn and the Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland Dr Michael McBride said in a statement.

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The CMOs jointly appealed to the public across the island to continue to follow public health advice to keep themselves and others safe. They noted specific concern with regard to the significant proportion of cases in young people in both Donegal and Derry, and appealed to teenagers and those in their twenties and thirties in particular to reduce their social contacts.

Martin said he spoke with to First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill and indicated that “it would make sense if we could harmonise as closely as possible respective public health measures”.

Of the new 324 new cases confirmed in Ireland yesterday, 167 cases were in Dublin, 42 in Donegal, 34 in Cork, 13 in Monaghan, 12 in Kildare, eight in Cavan, six in Limerick, six in Meath, six in Roscommon and five in Wicklow, with the remaining cases 25 cases in 11 counties.

64% of the cases were under the age of 45.

- With reporting from PA

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