One death, 395 new cases, R number is 0.6

One coronavirus-related death and 395 new cases of the disease have been reported to the Department of Health in the past 24 hours.

A total of 1,965 people have died with Covid-19 in Ireland. This includes the indication of one death.

The total number of cases is 66,632, including the designation of ten previously confirmed cases.

The number of people in the ICU is 39, an increase of one from yesterday. There are 279 patients with coronavirus in hospitals, with 20 admissions in the last 24 hours.

Of the cases reported today, 132 are in Dublin, 31 in Cork, 27 in Donegal, 27 in Limerick, 27 in Galway and the remaining 151 cases are spread across 18 other counties.

Almost two thirds (65%) are under the age of 45 and comprise 197 men and 198 women.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chairman from The Irish Epidemiological Modeling Advisory Group of the National Public Health Emergency Team said: “We now estimate the reproduction number R at 0.6.

“Data suggests that level 3 measures stabilize the number of cases, while level 5 measures were needed to suppress transmission, especially when infection rates are high.

“If we continue our efforts, we can force the infection to a very low level.”

Prof Nolan said the number of hospital admissions remains “around 20” per day. “At best, they have stabilized, but there is no significant decrease in these admissions,” he said.

Earlier today, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar advised people who wanted to book a flight home for Christmas not to do so at this time.

Mr Varadkar said in the Dáil that it was “too early” for people to book flights to Ireland.

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan told a press conference tonight that he would also advise people not to embark on non-essential journeys.

He said, “People should avoid and continue to avoid non-essential travel for the foreseeable future, including the Christmas season.

“We would feel the kind of travel that would normally happen at Christmas, people coming back to spend time with their loved ones, which we all understand and facilitate, and we consider it non-essential to this Christmas.”

Dr. Holohan, who was asked if traveling on compassionate grounds, such as a grandchild coming here from abroad, would be allowed, said inbound travel from other countries is now at greater risk because they have higher infection rates than we do.

“That is the experience of Europe and our close neighbors and many of the countries with which we have a close travel relationship. That will be one of the main risks for us.

“One of the biggest risks will be re-import of the disease through international travel.”

The CMO said that large family gatherings or office parties “would not be possible” as we try to get through the festive season in “a safe way”.

Prof Nolan said the conditions under which testing reduce the risk of travel are “very narrow,” as an “undetected” result is no guarantee that someone does not have Covid.

While traveling through this country, Dr. Tony Holohan said we should “stay on the road” before recommending a 5km change of the travel limit.

He said that while he hoped the situation would continue to improve, it was too early to say whether NPHET would recommend a change to the restrictions to allow people to travel outside their country.

NPHET will formally consider this when it meets on November 26.

“If the 5km travel limit has to be changed, things have to improve. We hope it will improve further, but we don’t know yet,” he said.

But Dr. Holohan warned, “Not every part of the country has experienced the same decrease in disease incidence.

For example, Donegal’s 14-day incidence is 281 per 100,000, compared to the national average of 135 per 100,000.

“The country as a whole can manage to suppress this disease to a low level in the coming weeks.

“We have achieved a lot of suppression during the Level 5 period, the coming weeks will give us an opportunity to further reduce transmission.”

Asked whether Donegal is likely to remain below the Level 5 limits at the end of the month, Dr. Holohan said there was still time for “significant improvements.”

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Deputy Chief of Medical Fromficer Dr. Desmond Hickey said Ireland now has the second lowest 14-day incidence of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in the EU.

“Ireland has seen a 52% decrease in the 14-day incidence of the disease,” he told the news conference.

HSE Group Lead for Acute Hospitals, Dr. Vida Hamilton, said the number of Covid cases continues to decline.

She said, “Our number of cases has been flattened in our intensive care units. There were three admissions and three discharges in the last 24 hours and one person sadly died.

“We are seeing an increase in emergency room attendance, which is a positive indication that the public continues to have access to both Covid and non-Covid healthcare services.”

Two privately run Covid-19 test centers opened today at Cork and Shannon airports, while the Irish Airline Pilots Association called for the urgent introduction of a mandatory rapid antigen testing regime to reopen the aviation industry.

HSE CEO Paul Reid told a press conference this afternoon that 78,245 lab tests have been conducted in the past seven days. About 14,000 contact tracing calls were made.

About 5.4% of the 7,212 new Covid-19 cases identified in the past 14 days – 389 people – have gone to hospital, of which 21 are in the ICU.

Mr. Reid said there were ICU admissions in different age groups.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health in Northern Ireland has announced that an additional 15 people with Covid-19 have died. It claims the official death toll there to 825.

It also confirmed another 548 cases of the virus. There are now 45,241 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

Stormont’s power-sharing manager met this afternoon to agree on a policy on Covid-19 restrictions.

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