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Record figures Coronavirus Ireland: Four deaths and staggering 3,394 new Covid-19 cases announced

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Chief medical officer Tony Holohan at a Covid-19 press conference yesterday. Photo: Colin Keegan

Chief medical officer Tony Holohan at a Covid-19 press conference yesterday. Photo: Colin Keegan

Chief medical officer Tony Holohan at a Covid-19 press conference yesterday. Photo: Colin Keegan

A further four people have died and 3,394 new cases of Covid-19 were announced today as health experts warn Ireland's hospitals are under severe pressure.

Earlier today, a top virologist has said that the new variant of the coronavirus is not behind the huge spike in cases.

As the daily positive cases hit another record on Friday, Dr Cillian De Gascun said testing showed the new variant was found in less than 10 per cent of positive samples.

He tweeted that tests of SARS CoV2 samples dating from December 23rd to 29th found nine more UK variant cases in Ireland.

It brings to the total number of the new variant to 16 out of 169 analysed samples.

“Samples tested were from last weekend, so acquisition of infection likely around December 12th-14th,” he wrote.

As of 2pm today, 607 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 56 are in ICU. 71 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said; “The incidence of COVID-19 is as high, if not higher now than it was in March. Every individual needs to act as if they are infectious. Hospitalisations are rising to levels close to what we saw in the springtime. Everyone needs to stay at home other than for essential work or care.

“It is really important that vulnerable and older people do not leave their homes unless absolutely essential. This includes asking neighbours or family to carry out errands such as grocery shopping, limiting all contacts to only those people you live with or have to visit for essential care reasons.

“We need to rediscover the spirit of solidarity and community we saw in March and April so that we can all do our part in protecting older and vulnerable people.

“People particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 include older persons and people with pre-existing medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer.”

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