Coronavirus infections have reached a plateau and should start to fall in the Republic of Ireland, the head of the coronavirus modelling team has said.
Prof Philip Nolan from Maynooth University has been leading a team of about 50 mathematicians to examine the growth rate of Covid-19.
He told the daily briefing on Thursday there was evidence the state’s lockdown measures were working.
However, Prof Nolan said lifting restrictions could reverse any gains.
He said that since 3 April the growth rate in new cases has been “close to zero” and the numbers attending ICU have also been stable.
Prof Nolan said had emergency measures not been taken, the Republic could have been looking at 1,700 deaths so far.
There have been 486 Covid-19 linked fatalities in the Republic of Ireland, with 13,271 confirmed cases.
But despite the expected fall in infections, on Thursday it reported its worst day for Covid-19 related fatalities, with 43 deaths.
At the start of the crisis, each confirmed case was infecting on average 4.5 people but that figure is now down to between 0.7 and 1 and falling.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan told the briefing: “In the population, at large, the virus is contained and effectively suppressed.
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“However, the experience of the disease in long-term residential care centres continues to be a source of concern.”
Dr Holohan said 302 of the Republic’s 486 deaths were in residential centres.
The authorities are actively seeking to redeploy nursing staff to work in such homes to help deal with the crisis.
Easing of lockdown
The Republic of Ireland is to extend its Covid-19 restrictions until 5 May.
Thanking the public for their “forbearance and sacrifice”, he warned restrictions “won’t be eased in one go”.
“They’ll have to be done bit by bit,” he said.
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