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stay safe HSE boss Paul Reid urges public to keep virus guard up over bank holiday weekend

Health Service Executive chief Paul Reid said the country has achieved too much in its battle against Covid-19 to let it slip now.

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Shoppers on Grafton Street in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Shoppers on Grafton Street in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Shoppers on Grafton Street in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

The head of the Health Service Executive has urged the public to “keep their guard up” as they enjoy the bank holiday weekend.

Paul Reid said the country has achieved too much in its battle against Covid-19 to let it slip now.

As the country prepares to ease further restrictions on Monday, there are some concerns over large gatherings in city centres, as witnessed last weekend.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Mr Reid said on Twitter: “Notwithstanding some challenges, we head into the bank holiday weekend in a really strong position. Covid-19 patients in hospital are now down to 70 with 28 of those in ICU.

“We’ve achieved too much to let it slip now.

“Enjoy the weekend and let’s keep our guard up.”

Gardai are to step up their policing plan in cities, including uniform patrols and plain-clothed officers in areas attracting large crowds.

The move comes amid concerns over the rate of coronavirus infections in Limerick.

Public health officials say that more almost 900 cases were reported in the county in the last two weeks.

It has a 14-day incidence rate of 425 per 100,000 population.

Officials say the catalyst is indoor gatherings, including household visits, small and large social events, birthday parties and house parties.

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It has had a serious knock-on effect in schools and workplaces and led to the temporary closure of businesses and schools.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan ruled out a local lockdown following a meeting with health officials and Limerick politicians on Friday.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “Public health doctors have told us that this spike is a result of indoor socialising and workplace outbreaks.

“Unfortunately, this sharp rise puts our hard-won progress against Covid-19 at risk. It is simply too soon to stop adhering to the public health measures that have protected us so well for so long.

“In the past we have seen Limerick’s ability to respond quickly to Covid-19 and effectively get the virus under control. We need people to harness the community spirit we have seen Limerick people display time and time again, to continue to protect our loved ones.”

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