Covid-19: No plans to reduce three-week interval between roadmap phases

There are no plans to reduce the three-week intervals between the five phases of our roadmap to lift the Covid-19 restrictions.

The country took its first step towards easing lockdown measures last week and recent figures have shown an encouraging downward trend.

For the first time in over nine weeks, there were no new Covid-19 related deaths to report yesterday.

Despite the progress to date, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said a reduction in the intervals between phases would not be a good idea.

He said: “If there is to be a significant shift in the complacency and measures and people relaxing if you like, and people engaging with each other in ways that increases the risk of infection - we have to be able to pick that up.

“We have to allow enough time for that to appear in the cases so we can see something is happening here. There’s been an increase in the cases that we hadn’t anticipated and we need to take measures to stop that.

“We think an interval shorter than three weeks would simply be too short for that purpose.”

The President of the Intensive Care Society of Ireland, Dr Catherine Motherway has cautioned that any speeding up in easing Covid restrictions should be based on science and the experience of other countries rather than any other pressures.

Dr Motherway, who is a consultant anaesthesiologist at University Hospital Limerick, told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the pace of change in restrictions set out by Nphet was reasonable, but that any changes needed to be based on a balance of science and assessing risk as “we still have a long way to go.”

Measuring the impact of the easing of restrictions would take two to three weeks, the incubation period of the virus, she said.

Dr Motherway added that there was anxiety in hospitals about another wave of the Covid-19 virus during the winter flu season later this year.

Yesterday was the first time in 65 days that no Cover-19 deaths had been reported.

Dr Holohan sounded a note of optimism confirming that the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will meet today to consider phase two of the lockdown exit roadmap.

59 more coronavirus cases were reported on Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 24,698.

Meanwhile, the number of patients self-isolating in City West Hotel in Dublin has dropped below 100 for the first time.

The centre was opened by the HSE on April 1 for people who cannot self-isolate at home.

Dr Siobhán Ni Bhriain, Consultant Psychiatrist and HSE Integrated Care Lead says less people are now needing to use the facility.

additional reporting by Vivienne Clarke