A further 43 people have sadly died after contracting the Covid-19 in Ireland.
The latest fatalities brings to 1,232 the death toll from the virus.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has announced this evening, Thursday, April 30 that a further 359 people have tested positive for the illness.
Two months after the first case was confirmed on February 29, the up to date national figures for Thursday revealed that there have now been 20,612 people in Ireland who have tested positive.
Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said: “The latest report of COVID-19 cases in healthcare workers reveals that 34% of cases relate to nurses, healthcare assistants amount to 24% and cases among doctors is at 7%.
“Since the pandemic began in Ireland 72 nurses, 40 healthcare assistants, 22 doctors and 45 other allied healthcare workers have been hospitalised with COVID-19.”
Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said: “Healthcare workers place themselves at risk everyday during this pandemic. Supporting them and doing everything possible to protect them in their work is a priority not just for NPHET and the HSE, but society at large. The willingness of people to stay home and follow public health advice has been instrumental in this effort.”
Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said: “To understand the importance of our next steps we should look back to the pattern of the epidemic at the beginning of March. Within 10 days we went from 50 people in ICU to 140 people in ICU. Currently, there are 106 patients in ICU. If a similar surge occurred on top of our current ICU figure, we would find it very difficult to manage the treatment of patients. This reflects the sensitivity required in relaxing restrictions.”
Earlier today, the Taoiseach has said a plan is being developed to relax the current coronavirus lockdown, but he cautioned that any easing of the restrictions will be done gradually.
Speaking in the Dáil, Leo Varadkar said people want to know when things will go back to the new normal, but unfortunately for those who would like an immediate return to a pre-Covid world, he said the easing of the restrictions will be slow and gradual and done in a step-wise, tiered manner.
He stressed that public health and safety and healthcare capacity will continue to be the basis for decision-making.
Also today, it has emerged that a company called AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford are teaming up to develop and manufacture a vaccine for coronavirus with the aim of building capacity to produce 100m doses by the end of the year if it is shown to be effective.
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