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stop the surge Ireland facing fourth wave of Covid-19, health official warns

Professor Martin Cormican said case numbers are ‘stuck’ and possibly rising.


HSE lead on infection control Martin Cormican

HSE lead on infection control Martin Cormican

HSE lead on infection control Martin Cormican

Ireland is in danger of facing another wave of Covid-19 cases, a senior health official has warned.

The HSE’s lead for infection control, Professor Martin Cormican, described case numbers as “stuck” and possibly rising.

Sunday saw 769 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed by the Department of Health, the highest daily increase in cases reported since Friday February 26.

There were also two more deaths of people with Covid-19.

It makes no difference to the virus if it is a wake or a birthday partyProfessor Martin Cormican

Prof Cormican told RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland programme: “[Cases] are pretty much stuck, possibly going back upwards a bit. There’s a real danger of another surge.

“We certainly all hoped to be in a better place than we are. We need to deal with the reality of where we are and we need to be very careful.”

Mr Cormican described the increase in case numbers as disappointing and urged the public to continue in their social distancing efforts because the more people come together the more the virus spreads.

“That’s really hard because what’s got us through so far is that people have put up with a great deal of isolation and loneliness and burdened it as necessary to control the virus,” he said.

“Unfortunately it is still necessary because the new strain does seem to spread faster than the one we were used to. And that makes everything harder and makes it harder for everyone.”

He added: “The vast majority of people are trying really hard to adhere to the restrictions as much of the time as they possibly can.

“There are some people who are less careful and I suppose we continue to appeal to them and to explain to them that the risks that they’re taking is not just a risk for them, the risk that they’re taking is a risk for everyone they know and care about in the two weeks after they take that risk.”

Prof Cormican said the situation in hospitals had improved and described schools as stable, but warned they were seeing a spread in infection in workplaces and other settings where people gather together such as birthday parties and wakes.

“It makes no difference to the virus if it is a wake or a birthday party,” he added.

His comments come as the country’s long-awaited mandatory quarantine system is set to become operational later this week.

People arriving from 33 countries flagged as high risk will have to quarantine in hotels for 14 days.

Mandatory quarantine will also apply to people arriving into Ireland without a negative PCR test.

Meanwhile, as of March 18, 654,251 doses of Covid vaccines have been administered in Ireland.

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Press Association