Coronavirus: Fifty deaths reported as Holohan warns over Brazil variant

Coronavirus: Fifty Deaths Reported As Holohan Warns Over Brazil Variant
A paramedic at the Mater Hospital in Dublin as medical services in Ireland come under intense pressure following a surge in Covid cases. Photo: PA
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Tomas Doherty

A further 50 deaths and 3,498 new cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the Republic.

Of the new cases, 1,182 were in Dublin, 421 in Cork, 258 in Limerick, 187 in Galway, 164 in Waterford, and the remaining 1,286 cases spread across all other counties.


The latest figures show 1,850 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, with 184 in intensive care.

Monaghan has the highest incidence rate in the country at 2,968 cases per 100,000, followed by Louth at 2,467 and Limerick at 2,157.

The chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said there was no evidence that new variants of Covid-19 recently identified in Brazil are in Ireland, but asked anyone travelling from Brazil to self-isolate for 14 days and get tested as soon as possible.


He said: “It is essential that anyone arriving from Brazil self-isolate for 14 days from the date of arrival before entering/re-entering the workplace. We are particularly appealing to employers to enable their employees to protect each other by staying at home for the full 14 days.

“Further risk assessment of the new variants is expected from the ECDC [European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control] in the coming week. We must all continue to adhere to every element of the public health advice. This remains our best defence against COVID-19,” he said.

'Beyond' predictions

This comes as the Taoiseach said the scale and pace of the increase in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks was “well beyond” what was predicted.

Micheál Martin said tough restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus will remain in place for some time.


Earlier this week figures revealed that Ireland has the world’s highest incidence of new Covid-19 cases per million people.

In an online speech hosted by the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), Mr Martin said that hospitals are facing their “most terrible” weeks of the pandemic.

“We are at the moment of balance between deep danger and great hope,” he said.

“Just as they had done in the past for deadly diseases like polio and smallpox, it is through vaccination that we would be able to put this terrible virus behind us.


“Figures released yesterday show that vaccination here is moving forward at a pace, and primarily limited by the availability of the vaccine.

“Our hospitals are experiencing their most terrible weeks so far of the pandemic.

“The scale and pace of the increase in cases which we experience has been well beyond anything predicted.


“Tough measures limiting public activities must remain in place for the moment, and everyone will have to limit contact for some time.

“These are dark days, our gap of danger but I know that we will get the truth and we will see brighter times.”

Christmas restrictions

The Government has defended its response to the pandemic after it lifted Level 5 restrictions in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Scale and pace of Covid-19 cases ‘well beyond’ pre...
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The decision to move the restrictions back to Level 3 with the reopening of restaurants, inter-county travel and house visits led cases to skyrocket in recent weeks.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar admitted the decision “turned out to be quick”.

He said the government followed advice issued the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

“I am not sure we would take that advice if that advice was to be given again, because that turned out to be too quick,” he told RTÉ’s News At One. – Additional reporting: PA

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