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Sam Boal

Number of people infected by a confirmed case of Covid-19 has fallen again

Harris said government will continue to be led by public health advice.

THE NUMBER OF people that a person with Covid-19 is infecting in Ireland has reduced further, the Dáil heard today. 

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

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Health Minister Simon Harris said the modelling data for the Covid-19 reproduction number is between 0.4 and 0.5 this week.

Last week, it was between 0.4-0.6. 

 “The modelling show key measures of severity, including number of people in hospital, is steady.

“The Irish people are managing to keep control of this virus so far. People have adapted their behaviour. That’s what the next few weeks are about.

“All of efforts must be to keep the reproduction number below one. The temptation might be to think the battle is won, that would be a dangerous position to adopt,” he said.

Harris said the government is concerned about a second wave.

“We hope to move forward but will continue to be led by the data and the public health advice.

“We will decide at the end of next week if we can move to phase two.”

Harris also confirmed today that the department is looking at easing visitor restrictions to nursing homes, whereby families might be able to visit their loved ones outside.

Yesterday, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said officials are “very sensitive to the issue”.

“It’s one of the reasons why, if I go back to the beginning, we were reluctant to see a blanket restriction on visiting into facilities, particularly nursing home facilities, which is essentially cutting people off from their loved ones who live in these facilities,” he said. 

Holohan said officials are trying to be “creative” about how visiting in some form may be able to begin again.

On 12 May, a briefing document for a video conference with the health minister outlined some suggestions on easing restrictions.

It suggested that initial visits be kept to 15 to 30 minutes to allow more people access. It also said any changes should be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Harris said outbreaks have been stemmed in 29 nursing homes in Ireland, and there has not been an outbreak at nursing homes in over a week.

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