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NPHET warns that Ireland’s COVID-19 situation is “stable but precarious,” six deaths and 411 new cases confirmed yesterday

DUBLIN: The Department of Health has confirmed 411 new COVID-19 cases in Ireland yesterday. A further six deaths were also reported in the Republic yesterday. All the deaths occurred in March.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 235,854. The death toll from COVID-19 is 4,687.

150 of the new cases were recorded in Dublin, 31 in Donegal, 25 in Kildare, 25 in Wexford, 21 in Offaly and the remaining 159 were spread across 17 other counties.

As of yesterday morning, 297 COVID-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 67 were in ICU.

The 14-day incidence rate in Ireland is 164.1 per 100,000 of the population. With 485 cases per 100,000 people, Offaly has the highest incidence rate in the country, followed by Donegal (278) and Dublin (240).

As of March 18, 806,541 doses of the vaccine were administered in Ireland. 580,857 people received their first dose, and 25,684 received their second dose.

Meanwhile, 123 new COVID-19 cases were registered in Northern Ireland yesterday. No further deaths were reported in the region.

National Public Health Emergency Team

Prof Philip Nolan said the COVID-19 situation in Ireland is “stable but precarious” with around 500 new cases a day. “It doesn’t seem to be getting worse, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be getting better,” he said.

The chair of NPHET’s Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group added that the next significant increase in social contact after April 5 would lead to the fourth wave of COVID-19. He warned that if the R-number increased in the coming weeks as some restrictions are eased, the situation will worsen.

“There is a critical window over the next eight weeks where any significant increase in social contact is likely to lead to a significant additional wave somewhere between what we saw in October and what we saw in January.”

“It’s for that reason that we’re saying any increase in social mixing, right now, is incredibly risky, but delaying eight weeks hugely attenuates that risk, or will make a huge difference to us as a population.” Prof Nolan said.

Meanwhile, Deputy CMO Dr. Ronan Glynn said that the country was doing better than last year and it could be possible to eliminate another surge of the virus, despite the concerning figures. “We’ve so many more reasons for hope and to be optimistic of summer ahead,” he added.

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