Covid-19: ‘Enormous efforts’ see cases below 300 for first time since December

One further death and 269 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the Republic.

It marks the first time since mid-December that daily case numbers have fallen below 300.

Of the cases notified on Sunday, 70 per cent are under 45 years of age and the median age is 31 years old.

As of this morning, there were 181 Covid-19 patients hospitalised, with 47 in intensive care.

Acting chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, attributed the improved indicators surrounding the disease to “the enormous efforts of people across society.”

The declining incidence across all age groups in recent weeks cannot be attributed to vaccination

“We have already seen the fantastic impact of vaccination amongst our healthcare workers and in our nursing homes,” he said in a statement on Sunday evening.

“However, the declining incidence across all age groups in recent weeks cannot be attributed to vaccination but rather to the enormous efforts of people across society to keep themselves and their families safe.


“If we can keep incidence relatively low over the coming weeks, vaccination will increasingly play a role in suppressing this virus. This will make it easier for all of us to balance the risks associated with Covid-19 while gradually easing public health measures.”

Dr Glynn urged the public to continue to keep their distance and wear a mask, and to avoid mixing indoors with other households.

People should work from home where at all possible, get vaccinated as soon as it was their turn, and isolate and contact a GP to arrange a test if they had any symptoms, he added.

Meanwhile, no further deaths related to Covid-19 were confirmed in Northern Ireland. A further 82 cases of the virus were confirmed in the region over the past 24 hours.

The Republic is now “ahead” of the best-case scenario given four weeks ago regarding Covid-19 case numbers, according to the Minister for Health.

On Sunday, Stephen Donnelly told RTÉ’s This Week that the Government is now “in a very positive position to talk about May, June, July” and the further easing of restrictions.

With the R number currently remaining below 1, the full opening of construction — along with retail and hospitality — is under consideration, Mr Donnelly confirmed.

The Taoiseach also said on Sunday that “steps to reopen have been moving ahead while we have also been reducing the spread of the virus”.

Vaccination plans

Separately, Minister Donnelly clarified on Sunday that there is no plan to vaccinate those under the age of 30 ahead of some older cohorts.

He had “simply asked” the deputy chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Ronan Glynn for his opinion on the potential move, the Minister told Newstalk radio.

“Certainly it wasn’t floated, and there is no plan in place — I simply asked the deputy CMO his view, given that it was in Niac, given that we’re always doing everything we can to make the programme as effective as possible,” he said.

The Minister said Dr Glynn informed him that current Covid-19 transmission data did not support changing the rollout plan.

On Sunday morning, chief of the HSE Paul Reid said Covid-19 vaccinations for people aged between 65 and 69 will begin from Monday.