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'If we don't act now to reduce our contacts... the number of cases in Dublin would double every 14 days'

With NPHET due to meet tomorrow to discuss the situation in Dublin, people have been urged to reduce their contacts.

Professor Philip Nolan at tonight's briefing.
Professor Philip Nolan at tonight's briefing.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

COVID-19 IS SPREADING at a much faster rate in Dublin than elsewhere in the country, and if people don’t reduce their contacts it could mean the number of cases in the capital would double every 14 days, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has warned.

It comes as a further 84 cases of the virus were confirmed today in Ireland. The majority of these (51) were in Dublin. Yesterday, 180 cases were confirmed in Dublin alone and health officials have said that cases are spread across the county. 

At tonight’s briefing at the Department of Health, Professor Philip Nolan said it was essential people act to reduce their contacts to prevent further growth in the spread of Covid-19. 

“The concern is people let their guard down with people they know – family and friends,” Professor Nolan said. “I have a suspicion we’re guarded in certain social settings… and much less guarded when we’re amongst friends in our home.

“I really ask people to lift their level of vigilance in terms of the number of people they have over and how careful they are when they have them over.

If we don’t act now to reduce our contacts and be much more careful in how we manage our essential contacts, it would mean the number of cases in Dublin would double every 14 days. There’s a very clear call to action here.

Public health officials also pointed to concerns around a growing number of cases among older people, who are at a greater risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19.

Professor Nolan said that until late August there had been relatively few cases among older people but an increase had been noted in the 75-84 age group last week. There has now been an increase in the number of people aged 85 and over being diagnosed with the virus.

Nolan said this spread from younger people to older people is a source of “very significant concern”. He added that there had been 89 cases in people aged 75 and over in the past fortnight.

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The rise in cases in Dublin could lead to the introduction of fresh restrictions in the capital and NPHET is due to discuss the situation at a meeting tomorrow. It would then make its recommendations to government, with any decisions needing to be signed off by Cabinet.

Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn, however, would not be drawn on what form that may take this evening and said he wouldn’t be speculating ahead of tomorrow’s NPHET meeting.

He also reiterated Nolan’s call to reduce the number of contacts each person has to help limit the spread of the virus. 

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Sean Murray

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