Covid-19: Nphet condemns anti-lockdown protest as 687 cases confirmed

ireland
This Monday has also seen more than 300,000 students return to classrooms. Photo: PA Images.
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The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has confirmed one death and 687 cases of Covid-19 in the State.

Of the cases notified on Monday, 71 per cent are under 45 years of age.

Some 240 cases are located in Dublin, with a further 49 in Limerick, 44 in Offaly, 40 in Galway and 36 in Louth. The remaining 278 cases are spread across 19 other counties.

Speaking at a Nphet briefing on Monday evening, the country's chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said progress continued to be made with “tangible” evidence.

There were 540 Covid-19 patients hospitalised as of this morning, including 120 in intensive care units.

In the last 24 hours, we have had no new admissions to critical care, the first time this has happened since St Stephen’s Day

“While the number of daily cases and the number of people in hospital and critical care remain high, we continue to make progress,” Dr Glynn said.

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“In the last 24 hours, we have had no new admissions to critical care, the first time this has happened since St Stephen’s Day.”

Anti-lockdown protest

Questioned about an anti-lockdown protest that took place in Dublin over the weekend, Dr Glynn condemned the scenes widely shared on social media.

The deputy chief medical officer said that while a “silent majority” were “fed up and annoyed” with Covid-19 restrictions, they were continuing to stick with them.

“We don't see what they're doing, because they're doing it quietly in their houses and their communities,” he said.

He described the protest as the “actions of very small minority of people”.

Dr Glynn asked those frustrated by restrictions to reflect on what the population had achieved over the past year, “rather than focusing on negativity”.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin expressed concern on Monday about edited footage shared on social media of the violent protest in the city, which she said had been manipulated to “sow discord”.

Disappointed forecasts

With Nphet previously forecasting that between 200 to 400 daily cases would be confirmed by the end of March, Dr Glynn responded to the fact that almost 700 cases were confirmed on March 1st.

“We’re not where we want to be, not where we need to be, but we continue to go in the right direction,” he said.

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The 90 per cent prevalence of a more transmissible variant of the virus in Ireland for past number of weeks was responsible for the stubborn numbers, he said.

Dr Glynn added that Ireland continued to make very significant progress in a European context.

Ireland was one of seven or eight European countries that was continuing to see a downward trend in its incidence rate of the virus, he said.

School returns

It comes as more than 300,000 students returned to classrooms across the country for the first time since December on Monday morning.

Also speaking at the briefing, Professor Philip Nolan said the incidence of the disease in those aged 12 and under remained below the population average.

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Questioned over the wearing of masks in schools, Dr Glynn confirmed Nphet's view that parents should wear a face covering when dropping their children off at school.

While it was not formally recommended that children under the age of 13 should wear masks in schools, he said, any child who wanted to do so should not be discouraged.

Dr Glynn said the issue of primary school children wearing masks was up for discussion at a Nphet meeting later this week.

However, he said he was not anticipating that any change would be made to current advice.

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