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rising numbers Fears of local lockdowns as 'serious concerns' raised over increase in Covid-19 cases in Limerick

Provisional data shows there have been 137 new cases of Covid-19 in Co Limerick from last Sunday to this Thursday, with 46 new cases recorded on Thursday

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St John's Castle in Limerick

St John's Castle in Limerick

St John's Castle in Limerick

Limerick city’s mayor has said that if people don’t behave, Limerick could potentially face a regional lockdown in the future.

Yesterday, Public Health Mid-West said they had “serious concerns” over the “rapid” increase in Covid-19 cases in the county.

Provisional data shows there have been 137 new cases of Covid-19 in Co Limerick from last Sunday to this Thursday, with 46 new cases recorded on Thursday. Wednesday saw 38 new cases, while there were 22 cases confirmed on Tuesday, 20 on Monday and 11 on Sunday.

Public Health Mid-West said the rise in cases is attributable to social gatherings in the county in the last two weeks.

Limerick city’s mayor Michael Collins said the report was concerning, adding that he would not like for things to have to go backwards.

“It would be hugely important, especially for the commercial heart of Limerick, that we were looking forward to a good summer. So I would appeal to everybody to be extra cautious and to still adhere to the guidelines,” he said.

He said that it is too early to say yet whether a local lockdown will be needed, and more time is needed to monitor the situation.

“I know with the shutdown of the HSE IT systems, I suppose it has been hard to track and monitor everything,” he said.

“So I suppose over the coming days and weeks, we will have to proceed cautiously and then see what way the numbers are going. And then I suppose the Government will make decisions in conjunction with NPHET to see if there will be local lockdowns reintroduced.

“If we don’t behave and if we don’t adhere to the guidelines, we will be facing local lockdowns. I as a mayor don’t want that, because a lot of people have worked very hard and waited a long time to reopen their businesses, and for all of us to get back to some form of normality.

"So I would appeal to everybody to be cautious and adhere.”

Fianna Fáil TD for Limerick Niall Collins also spoke today on RTÉ Radio One's Saturday with Katie Hannon about the situation, advising all people to abide by public health rules.

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“It is obviously a huge concern that the numbers are increasing so rapidly in a geographical area,” he said.

In regards to a lockdown, he added that: “I think it’s too early at this point and time to be considering a local lockdown in response to this. But the numbers speak for themselves.

“But equally I think we have to bear in mind the vaccination programme is rolling out quite well here in Limerick… I don’t envisage a local lockdown will transpire.”

On that same programme, Dr Jennifer Williams spoke about some of the possible causes of the outbreak in Limerick.

“We have heard that there is an outbreak in the Castletroy area, but we haven’t had further information other than that. We do know that at the end of Ramadan that there were a large number of celebrations, and that led to quite a few cases as well,” she said.

As to how hospital staff in the area are coping, she said: “The hospital we have in Limerick is one of the hospitals that’s under the most pressure in the country consistently, with the highest numbers of trolleys.

“If staff there are close contacts, their COO will have to go home for work, and that’s just going to put massive pressure on a hospital that’s really struggling.”

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