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Locking forward Coronavirus Ireland: 52 deaths and 866 new Covid-19 cases as Level 5 lockdown likely to last six more weeks

It was revealed today that Level 5 lockdown restrictions are expected to be extended by at least another six weeks, with only schools and the construction sector likely to be allowed to reopen before Easter.

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Garda checkpoint at the Department of Health

Garda checkpoint at the Department of Health

Garda checkpoint at the Department of Health

A further 52 people have died after contracting Covid-19 while 866 new cases of the illness were recorded today.

33 of the deaths occurred in February, 12 occurred in January, six in December or earlier and one is still under investigation.

The median age of those who died was 83 and the ages of the deceased range from 55 - 96 years old.

There have been a total of 3,846 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland while the total number of confirmed cases now stands at 206,801*.

Validation of data at the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has resulted in the denotification of four cases which is reflected in the above figure.

Of the cases notified today:

  • 401 are men / 463 are women
  • 65% are under 45 years of age
  • The median age is 35 years old
  • 281 in Dublin, 63 in Galway, 56 in Kildare, 47 in Meath, 39 in Cork and the remaining 380 cases are spread across all other counties.**

The number of patients in hospital with the illness have fallen below 1,000 to 984, with 172 of these in ICU. There were 44 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, it was revealed today that Level 5 lockdown restrictions are expected to be extended by at least another six weeks, with only schools and the construction sector likely to be allowed to reopen before Easter.

A "refreshed" Living with Covid plan will be published the week after next, but senior figures involved in drafting the document say it is unlikely to give definitive timelines or dates for reopening society and the economy.

Subject to Cabinet approval, the current Level 5 restrictions, which are due to expire on March 5, are likely to be extended until at least April 12.

As well as keeping most shops and hospitality venues closed, it is also likely to mean no changes to the current 'stay at home' advisory and the 5km travel limit - although Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is pushing for households to be allowed to meet outdoors after March 5.

The Government is primarily focused on the phased reopening of schools and the construction sector next month, with close monitoring of the impact of increased movement of parents and construction workers likely to dictate whether more restrictions can be eased in April.

However, the non-essential retail and hospitality sectors will be closed for several more weeks.

Pubs, restaurants, bars and many hotels are not expected to reopen until May or June at the earliest and with a focus on outdoor dining and drinking. But reopening will depend on case numbers, hospitalisations and the reproductive rate of the virus.

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