Dr Holohan increasingly concerned about number of young people with Covid-19

Dr Tony Holohan says: "We are seeing a persistent number of infections coming from the community".

Ireland is not at the point yet where Covid-19 restrictions could be lifted on May 18.

That is according to the chief medical officer, after latest figures show 1,375 people with the virus have died, while over 22,200 have been infected.

A relaxing of some measures is due in 10 days' time, with the reopening of DIY stores and garden centres, and the return of outdoor workers and some sporting activities.

But Dr Tony Holohan says he is becoming increasingly concerned about the number of young people contracting Covid-19.

He says: "We are seeing a persistent number of infections coming from the community if I'm honest about it particularly from younger people in the community.

"It's a number that isn't falling as much as we would like and we are keeping an eye on that."

Covid-19 has impacted people over the age of 65 the hardest with people from that age cohort accounting for 27% of all cases and 93% of the deaths.

However young people are not immune to the virus. 114 people under the age of 5 have gotten the virus to date – including 39 babies.

230 children aged between 5 and 14 and almost 1500 aged between 15 and 24 have also contracted the virus.

Two people aged between 15 and 24 have lost their lives and five aged between 25 and 34.

The median age of those getting the virus is 49.

Dublin remains the country with the highest number of cases followed by Kildare and Cork.

Dr Holohan is pleased however with the ongoing trend of case numbers flattening and the falling numbers of patients in intensive care units (ICU)

He says: "We are seeing that the number of people in ICU is continuing to reduce, the number of new cases going in is falling, we are seeing trends moving in the right direction."

Yesterday the Department of Health confirmed that just 2% of the individuals trained as contact tracers in the fight against Covid-19 are currently employed to that end.

As of Tuesday of this week, just 40 of roughly 2,000 people trained to track the coronavirus via those it has infected were doing so.

At a fiery briefing from the National Public Health Emergency Team in Dublin, the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan confirmed the number of contact tracers currently working to that end.

His colleague Dr Siobhan ni Bhriain however suggested that given the low levels of new confirmed cases currently being seen, 40 people would be adequate in order to comprehensively trace their movements.