785 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Republic

108 cases in Northern Ireland
  • Deborah Condon

There are now 785 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland, after 102 new cases were reported on Saturday evening.

A further 108 cases have been confirmed in Northern Ireland, after 22 new cases were reported on Saturday afternoon.

To date, three people have died in the Republic from the virus, while one person has died in the North.

Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that of the 584 cases reported to it by midnight, March 19, just over half were male and the average age of those affected was 44 years.

Two children under the age of 12 months had tested positive, along with another two who were aged between one and four years.

The worst affected county remains Dublin, with 320 cases. That is 55% of the country's total. The next worst affected counties were Cork (88), Galway (21) and Kildare (18).

Eleven counties had fewer than five cases, including Cavan, Laois, Roscommon and Tipperary.

On Friday, the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 was signed into law by the President of Ireland. This Act empowers the Minister for Health to prohibit and restrict the holding of certain events, and to close certain premises, for example public houses.

According to the Department of Health's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, the department "is aware that pubs in some areas of the country are continuing to open, in contravention of existing public health advice".

"If any such premises become known to us, the Minister will be advised to use his regulatory powers to enforce the temporary closure of premises in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

"We are also asking An Garda Siochana to assist in encouraging the public to abide by the public health advice on social distancing by encouraging any groups congregating in public to disperse," he commented.

COVID-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person's body fluids (e.g. droplets from coughing or sneezing), or by touching surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of the virus to show. These may include a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties and fever (high temperature).

COVID-19 can also cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia and severe breathing difficulties. Some 80% of cases will be mild to moderate, 14% will be more severe, while 6% will be critical.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, people should:
-Practice social distancing and avoid crowded places
-Wash their hands properly and often
-Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, or cough and sneeze into their elbow
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
-Stay at home if they are sick to avoid spread of whatever infection they have.

For more information on COVID-19, click here.


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