Funeral and workplace outbreaks linked to rising infection numbers

Outbreaks linked to funerals and workplaces are contributing to a “worrying” rise in Covid-19 infection rates in Ireland, the chief medical officer has said.

r Tony Holohan said there was also evidence of small numbers of people gathering for social purposes and ignoring public health messages.

Dr Holohan said higher case numbers had persisted for a number of days as he warned again that progress to suppress the virus was at risk.

Ireland is more than halfway through a second nationwide lockdown lasting six weeks, with the Government’s highest level of coronavirus restrictions – Level 5 – in force until the start of December.

Another 378 cases were confirmed on Sunday, along with one further Covid-19 linked death.

The death toll in the country now stands at 1,979, with 67,903 confirmed cases in Ireland since the pandemic began.

The five-day moving average of case numbers has increased from 354 to more than 400 in recent days.

“This is a worrying development which has persisted for the last few days,” said Dr Holohan.

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Ireland is in the middle of a six-week national lockdown (Brian Lawless/PA)

“We are seeing a number of things which concern us. There are examples of small numbers of people congregating for social purposes and simply ignoring the important public health messages. They are putting our collective progress at risk.

“We are also seeing number of outbreaks across the country. These include outbreaks in association with funerals. We understand that this is a difficult time for families but it is really important that we do everything we can to avoid the circumstances which promote transmission of the virus.

“There have also been outbreaks associated with workplace settings. As we head into a new working week, we need to stay at home other than for essential reasons and for personal exercise within 5km. Anyone who can work from home should work from home.”

As of 2pm on Sunday, 249 coronavirus patients were in hospital, 31 of whom were in intensive care.

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