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No new COVID-19 cases in Clare as figure stays at 323

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*Ennis Town Centre. Photograph: John Mangan

Ireland has recorded its second highest amount of new COVID-19 cases this week (66) with two more deaths confirmed and no new cases in Co Clare.

On Sunday, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre confirmed that two more people had died from COVID-19 bringing to 1,652 the total amount of the deaths in the country since the outbreak of the virus. One death had been de-notified by the HPSC in the past 24 hours.

66 more persons have tested positive for COVID-19. Wednesday’s 73 new cases was the highest amount recorded in a 24 hour period this week. To date, 24,990 people have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus in Ireland.

Latest figures for Co Clare which are from Friday (May 29th) show that there have been no increase in confirmed cases. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, 323 people in the county have tested positive, many of which have now recovered.

Analysis of Friday’s 24,924 cases by the HPSC has outlined that 13% of all cases have been hospitalised with less than 1% admitted to ICU. The median age of confirmed cases is 48 years old with 7,963 cases associated with healthcare workers. Close contact is the leading cause of transmission (58%) according to the HPSC following by community transmission (39%) and travel abroad (2%).

Lifting travel restrictions would pose too high a risk, Head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons, Professor Sam McConkey has said.

Speaking to RTÉ, he said the easing of restrictions from 2km to 5km occurred at the correct juncture but cautioned, “the time to open up the country for internal travel completely is certainly not now”.

A firm date should not be set for the easing of travel restrictions and rather the meeting of certain criteria, Professor McConkey believed. This criteria would include no new cases of unexplained community transmission, improved data management systems plus same day testing and tracing systems.

“We don’t want a situation where some parts of the country, like the west, have almost controlled it completely, but other parts, particularly Dublin and Cork, the bigger cities, still have uncontrolled community transmission. If you open up travel, people might carry and reintroduce the virus back into areas in the west where there’s no transmission at present,” he said.

McConkey added, “The situation is much, much better than it was, but there is still a worry that if you open up national travel too early, people from the area where it’s still circulating will reintroduce it to areas where it isn’t present.”

Under the Government’s roadmap to reopening the country, the current restrictions say people should not travel beyond 5km from their home. It is planned that the second phase of the roadmap would begin on 8 June, and extend this travel restriction from 5km to 20km.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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