Restrictions averted thousands of Covid cases, says CMO 

Restrictions averted thousands of Covid cases, says CMO 

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, pictured this evening (Monday 30th November) at a Covid -19 update press conference at the Department of Health. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Ireland has significantly driven down the rate of coronavirus infection due to good public adherence to restrictions, the chief medical officer said.

The country will move to Level 3 tomorrow following a six-week lockdown to curb the spread of the virus.

There has been one more death linked to Covid-19 and an additional 306 confirmed cases.

Dr Tony Holohan said: "As a consequence of the high levels of adherence on the part of the general public to the measures that are in place we have seen very significant reduction in the burden of infection overall.

"We have seen significant protection of really essential public services, hospital services first of all, for the most part, although there has been a challenge where there has been specific outbreaks."

Figures from the Department of Health show there have been a total of 2,053 coronavirus-related deaths in the country and 72,544 confirmed cases. Numbers in intensive care are stable.

Sweeping restrictions have closed non-essential retail, pubs and restaurants.

The health measures will be lifted on a phased basis over the next few weeks.

Dr Holohan said great progress had been made during the period in Level 5 and added the restrictions had averted thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths.

"For the most part we have managed to protect hospital services for those who needed them or non-Covid. That was one of our core objectives.

"The HSE did a lot of really good work to re-establish a lot of hospital, healthcare and local services that had to be discontinued in the earlier part of the year."

Dr Holohan told a media briefing from the National Public Health Emergency Team that the death toll for November was 119, compared to 119 in October and 37 in September.

He said office Christmas parties should not be happening and pointed out the link between infection and socialisation while urging people to reduce their number of contacts.

He said alcohol has been "a very significant common factor in a lot of the kinds of social experiences in which transmission has occurred".

As restrictions are eased wedding guests and mourners at funerals will be limited to 25 while no organised indoors events are permitted.

Gatherings of up to 15 people are allowed outdoors while non-contact training may take place outdoors and in pods of 15, while individual training is permitted indoors.

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will also reopen for individual training on Tuesday.

Hotels, B&Bs and non-essential retail can also reopen.

People are still being urged to work from home and public transport is limited to 50%. People have also been advised to stay within their own county.

Places of worship, museums, galleries, libraries and cinemas will also reopen, but wet pubs are closed except for takeaways.

The Government has also recommended that the public should wear face coverings in crowded places.

According to the latest data,  370 Covid-19 cases have been reported in Cork in the last 14 days.

The 14-Day incidence rate per 100,000 population in Cork is 68.2.

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