Harris: Covid-19 reproduction rate between 0.4 and 0.5 after restrictions lift

Health Minister Simon Harris has said the country has managed to keep control of the virus despite more people moving about and businesses reopening.

Mr Harris said, after nine days since some restrictions were lifted, the latest data showed the reproduction rate was between 0.4 and 0.5 this week.

Furthermore, there were 1-2 admissions to ICU and 10-15 admissions to hospital a day now.

“It seems that despite more businesses opening, more people moving, we have managed to keep control of this virus so far.

"That is down to the people of Ireland and their efforts. People have adapted their behaviour to the realities this virus brings. They have kept their distance, they have washed their hands, they have adopted the public health advice. We are grateful to them,” he told the Dail this afternoon.

He also confirmed that health authorities are close to assessing if the country can move into phase two of the lockdown exit plan. This will among measures, on June 8, set as guidelines that 4 people can visit another household for a short period.

Mr Harris also confirmed authorities are examining if visitors can return to seeing their loved ones at nursing homes.

“I am pleased to report the health service is examining the issue of easing some visitor restrictions and assessing whether we can allow visitors to meet members of their families outside. I don’t wish to raise any hopes but I also want families to know we are looking at this and we hope we will make progress on this matter shortly.”

Health authorities with Nphet are also assessing how to alleviate restrictions for children, with a decision expected on this next week. Mr Harris added:

“This pandemic has deprived them of time with their friends, school time and it is bound to have an impact. Summer is here and while, it will not be a normal summer, we must look at ways to help our children resume some form of normality.”


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