Michael Staines
Michael Staines

17.55 27 Apr 2020


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A further 18 COVID-19 patients have died taking the death toll in the Republic to 1,102.

Some 386 new cases have been confirmed taking the total 19,648.

It comes as the Health Minister Simon Harris warned that there will be no "big bang moment" with services reopening on May 5th.

He said he hopes to publish a plan for reopening the country in the coming days.

Harris COVID-19 Coronavirus The Minister for Health Simon Harris at a COVID-19 briefing, 11-04-2020. Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said he is now “more firmly of the view” that if he was deciding what to do with restrictions today, he would not relax them.

“I think I was saying towards the end of last week that if the assessment was being made on any of the days I was with you towards the end of last week that we wouldn’t be recommending that we had arrived at a point where we would be lifting those restrictions and if anything, I am more firmly of that view given what we are seeing,” he said.

He there is still a small but persistent admission rate into the country’s Intensive Care Units (ICU) – with the fall in the number of occupied beds now slowing down.

Restrictions

He said officials wanted to see a drop in the number of people in intensive care, a drop in the number of new cases and improvements in the situation at residential care facilities before they will consider relaxing restrictions.

“We are hopeful that as the week goes on – there are still seven days left until the 6th of May – we are hopeful that we will continue to see improvement in terms of the experience but there is still a way to go.”

He said around half of Ireland’s standard ICU capacity is currently full and warned that he would like a “significant reduction” in that figure in the coming week if restrictions are to be relaxed.

Coronavirus COVID-19 The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan at this evening’s COVID-19 briefing at the Department of Health, 27-04-2020. Image: Rory Walsh/Newstalk

Confirmed cases

Women now make up 57% of the confirmed cases in Ireland, with more than a quarter of the total working in health.

Some 2,625 people have been hospitalised and 353 have been admitted to intensive care.

Half the confirmed cases are in Dublin followed by Kildare with 6% and Cork with 6%.

Dr Siobhán Ní Bhriain, Consultant Psychiatrist and HSE Integrated Care Lead, said: “We are very aware how difficult the current restrictions are for people and families.

“There are a number of supports available on gov.ie/together and yourmentalhealth.ie so please use these facilities and contact your GP if you are very stressed.”

checkpoints garda Gardaí stopping cars at a checkpoint near the Bray exit off the M11 as part of Operation Fanacht, 10-04-2020. Image: 10-04-2020. Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews

Tomorrow, Gardaí will begin a major operation to ensure compliance with the restrictions through the Bank Holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Protection today issued Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payments worth €207m to 591,000 people around the country.

The Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said the scale of the challenge facing the country is “now very clear” with over a million people dependent on State support.

This afternoon, donations for last week’s #FormalFriday campaign passed €170,000.

All proceeds go to charities supporting frontline workers and you can still donate here.


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