A further 28 people with COVID-19 have died in the Republic, and the number of new cases has jumped to its highest daily figure yet.
According to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), 15 females and 13 males have died. Twenty-two of these were located in the east of the country, two in the north west, two in the west and two in the south.
Nineteen had underlying health conditions.
This brings the total number of deaths here to 263.
A further 500 new cases of the virus have also been reported - the highest daily increase so far. This brings the total number of cases here to 6,574.
However in positive news, the NPHET's modelling data has revealed that Ireland's efforts to reduce the transmission of the virus so far, has had an impact. The growth rate has reduced from 33% daily in the early weeks of the outbreak, to 9% this week.
Furthermore, the average number of people that someone with COVID 19 was likely to infect at the beginning of the outbreak was high, at 4.5. This ‘R' (reproduction) number has been reduced very significantly, however it needs to be reduced even more.
"When an R number increases by even a fraction above 1, the number of new cases per day will rise slowly but inexorably. We are at a very delicate and critical point in our response to this pandemic," commented Prof Philip Nolan, chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG).
According to the Department of Health's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, following public heath advice is crucial at this point.
"The virus is still sustaining itself in our community. If we do not stay at home and practice physical distancing, then we are not stopping the spread. It is crucial that each one of us take seriously the risks this virus poses, follows the guidelines and limit the opportunity for this virus to spread.
"We must follow the public health advice as closely as we possibly can so that we can limit the spread of the virus. Stay at home, practice physical distancing, practice hand hygiene, protect each other," he said.
A survey of over 1,200 adults carried out by the Department of Health has shown that the proportion of people who feel that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is still ahead of us has fallen from 85% on March 16 to 62% today.
Meanwhile data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that of the 6,444 cases reported to it as of midnight on April 7, there were 317 clusters of the virus, involving 1,391 cases. Some 1,521 people had been hospitalised and of these, 230 had been admitted to ICU.
Dublin accounted for 55% of the country's cases (3,557) and overall, 1,765 cases were associated with healthcare workers.
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 fever, a persistent cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
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.
New restrictions in relation to COVID-19 are now in place until April 12, although this is expected to be extended. As part of these restrictions, everybody is being asked to stay at home, except in specific circumstances. These include:
-Travelling to and from work in circumstances where the work is an essential health, social care or other essential service that cannot be done from home
-To shop for essential food and household goods
-To attend medical appointments
-For vital family reasons, such as caring for children or elderly people
-To take brief individual exercise within your locality, which may include children from your household, however this should be within 2km of your home.
All public and private gatherings of any number of people outside a single household or living unit are prohibited.
Those over the age of 70 and medically vulnerable people are also being cocooned. For more information on this, click here.
ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, is running a national support line for older people facing difficulties due to COVID-19. The support line is open every day from 8am to 8pm, call 0818 222 024.
For more information on COVID-19, click here.
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