Covid-19: No more deaths but 53 further cases confirmed in State

There have been no further deaths related to Covid-19 in the State and 53 new cases confirmed, according to figures released on Sunday evening by the Department of Health.

This means the death toll from the virus stands at 1,763 while the total number of cases in the State rises to 26,162.

Last Thursday saw a spike of 85 new cases. This was followed by 38 extra cases on Friday and 45 on Saturday in what the department’s Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn called a “clearly concerning trend”.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is to give advice to the Government next Tuesday before the Cabinet decides whether or not to move to phase four of the reopening plan under which pubs that do not serve food would be allow to open.

Earlier, infectious diseases expert Prof Jack Lambert has said it was not “the right message” to be saying that “if we open up the pubs then the schools won’t be able to open in September”.

The UCD associate professor also said he did not believe the State’s restrictive travel policy was the answer to dealing with Covid-19.

He said there were fewer cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland than in the Republic even though the latter had a more restrictive travel policy.

“We have to focus on where the clusters are in Ireland,” he said.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio on Sunday, he suggested “regional targeted openings” of pubs “maybe . . . would make sense instead of total openings. Or maybe we should go ahead with the openings. We’re kind of saying if we open up the pubs then the schools won’t be able to open in September.

“I don’t think that’s the right message.”

He said Denmark had opened its schools and was doing quite well. “But they’ve also tackled the problem of community transmission much better than we have.”