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Experts predict a fourth wave of COVID-19 in Ireland; Level 5 exemptions may only be made in the construction sector

DUBLN: Health experts warn of a fourth wave of COVID-19 in Ireland. Professor Martin Cormican, the HSE’s lead for infection control, warns of a possible fourth wave nationwide.

The number of patients in hospitals has been declining. But COVID outbreaks are occurring in places where people congregate, such as workplaces and birthday parties. “It makes no difference to the virus if it is a wake or a birthday party,” he said. His response comes as the mandatory quarantine law is set to take effect this week.

“[Cases] are pretty much stuck, possibly going back upwards a bit. There’s a real danger of another surge. We certainly all hoped to be in a better place than we are. We need to deal with the reality of where we are and we need to be very careful,” he warned.

Mr. Cormican said the rise in case numbers is disappointing. We have no choice but to strictly follow the social distance and other COVID guidelines, he said.

“The vast majority of people are trying really hard to adhere to the restrictions as much of the time as they possibly can. There are some people who are less careful and I suppose we continue to appeal to them and to explain to them that the risks that they’re taking is not just a risk for them, the risk that they’re taking is a risk for everyone they know and care about in the two weeks after they take that risk,” he added.

Meanwhile, 529 COVID-19 cases and one death were reported in the country yesterday. So far, 2,31,119 people in the country have been affected by COVID-19. The death toll from coronavirus stands at 4588.

Dr. Una Fallon, the HSE’s Director of Public Health for the Midlands, stated that the high number of COVID-19 cases in Co Offaly is due to an increase in case numbers in creches, funerals, factories, and other workplaces. People congregate in these settings, and this can cause a cluster or an outbreak, she added.

Dr. Fallon said young people with minor symptoms should contact their GP and have a COVID test. She said remain at home with their families until they are tested negative for COVID-19.

Deputy CMO Dr. Ronan Glynn said some outbreaks were found among Irish traveller community students. During the NPHET briefing yesterday, he said that 80% of people will receive their first vaccine dose by June.

Experts have advised the government not to grant Level 5 exemptions on anything other than the construction sector in light of the possibility of the fourth wave of COVID-19. Further discussions are underway at the government level.

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