Nphet confirms 52 deaths, 2,371 new cases of Covid-19

ireland
A variant of the virus widespread in Ireland has been linked to higher mortality in new evidence. Photo: PA Wire.
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By Digital Desk Staff

There have been 52 further deaths and 2,371 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

50 of these deaths occurred in January. The median age of those who died is 82 years, while the age range is from 39 to 99 years old.

Of the new cases confirmed on Friday, 57 per cent are under 45 years of age.

757 are located in Dublin, 237 in Cork, 154 in Waterford, 123 in Wexford, 114 in Louth, and the remaining 986 cases are spread across all other counties.

As of Friday afternoon, 1,931 patients are hospitalised with Covid-19, with 219 people in intensive care units. 78 additional hospitalisations have been seen over the past 24 hours.

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Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer, appealed for the public to adhere to public health guidelines over the weekend.

"Through the hard work and sacrifice of the vast majority of people, we are starting to see the first signs of a lower prevalence of the disease in the population," he said.

"Our data is telling us that for a third of people, it’s four days or more from the time they first experience symptoms of Covid-19 to the time they get tested. We all need to contact our GP as soon as symptoms occur, so we can trace our contacts and prevent further infections."

Travel

The figures come as new restrictions on international travel are likely to be announced next week, in a bid to prevent new variants of the virus arriving in the Republic.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), variants of the disease have contributed to the recent surge of infection seen in Ireland and the UK.

There is evidence that a new variant first identified in the UK and now widespread in Ireland is linked to a higher level of mortality, the British prime minister Boris Johnson said on Friday evening.

The Cabinet is expected to approve suspending visa-free travel from Brazil and South Africa, while those who arrive into Ireland without a negative PCR test for Covid-19 are also expected to have to quarantine for two weeks.

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The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said some talks have taken place with the UK government about introducing quarantine rules on both islands.

However, it remains to be seen if a mandatory quarantine for all arrivals will be introduced in Ireland.

A Government source has said that “nothing is being ruled out”, in relation to tightening rules on incoming travel.

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The country’s deputy chief medical officer has come out in support of stricter measures, saying that mandatory quarantine should be introduced for people coming into Ireland.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Minister has said authorities in the Republic do not currently have the legal entitlement to hold a person at Dublin airport indefinitely, after it emerged that 80 people had recently arrived into the State without proof of a negative test for Covid-19.

The reopening of the education sector also remains uncertain, as the HSE’s chief clinical officer has said that Covid-19 transmission levels are too high for schools to reopen at the moment.

However, the Department of Education is understood to be exploring whether to allow individual special schools to reopen if enough staff are willing to return on a voluntary basis.

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