Covid-19 ‘has been taken off the streets’ as contacts of confirmed cases fall

Covid-19 has been moved off the streets of Ireland and is mainly being spread among households, the chief clinical officer has said.

Colm Henry said the number of contacts of people confirmed with Covid-19 is now less than three.

The coronavirus death toll in Ireland rose to 1,615 on Tuesday after a further nine were announced.

There were another 37 cases of Covid-19 confirmed on Tuesday, taking the total to 24,735.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>(PA Graphics)</figcaption>
(PA Graphics)

Dr Henry told RTÉ Morning Ireland: “It is important to remind people of the gains that we have made as a country. We have seen a 70% reduction in the number of people in our ICUs and a 70% reduction in the number of people in our hospitals.

“We have seen the virus beaten off the streets in our towns and cities and into households. So much so that the number of contacts per confirmed case has gone from a peak of 20 to less than three and sometimes two.

“Those gains have been hard fought for and they have been made because of the restrictions we have fought hard for, and we as a people adhering to those measures so that we could break that chain of transmission and bend that curve and effectively extinguish the virus from our streets.”

Dr Henry also advised against non-essential travel.

“We should take great care before we jump in and reverse those significant gains we have made since March in bending and smashing that curve.

“At this point in time we would not be advising people to fly.”

Elsewhere, the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council has warned Ireland’s debt could return to near-record levels due to Covid-19.

The council said it could reach 160% of gross national income, up from 99% in 2019.

It has also warned it could take up to three and a half years for the economy to return to pre-crisis levels.