IRELAND’S chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is ‘deeply concerned’ over the spread of Covid-19 since the weekend.
Dr Holohan’s comments come as Donegal recorded its highest daily increase of new cases since the outbreak. Yesterday, the Department of Health confirmed 60 new cases in the county.
In the last two weeks, there have been 497 new cases in Donegal, where the incidence rate – 312 cases per 100,000 population – is the highest in the country.
NPHET met on Sunday and recommended a move to Level 5 of Covid-19 restrictions; a suggestion that was rejected by the Government, who instead announced a nationwide move to Level 3 from midnight on Tuesday.
“We took the decision to meet out of cycle because of what we have seen in terms of the changes of the disease,” Dr Holohan said.
“We have seen further deterioration and we are deeply concerned about the changing path of this infection.
“We conveyed our findings, analysis and recommendations to the Minister of Health and into the Government.”
Dr Holohan was critical of how NPHET’s proposal to move to Level 5 was leaked to the media on Sunday night – prompting widespread panic across the country.
He said: “The findings and recommendations, as in the past, required early and serious and confidential discussion. That didn’t happen. The content leaked into the media and whoever leaked that did not share our objective to deal with the disease in the way we think appropriate.”
In August, four Covid-19 related deaths were recorded, with that number jumping to 34 in September and there have been eight Covid-19 related deaths noted so far in October.
80 COVID-19 cases were hospitalised in August, 206 in September and there have been 77 hospitalisations so far in October.
Dr Holohan said: “I have to get across the seriousness of the situation we are in.
“We are now beginning to see exponential growth in case numbers. Unless we individually and collectively take the message that we are giving seriously, it will become inevitable.
“All key indicators of the disease have deteriorated further in the three days since the last meeting of NPHET on Sunday 4th October. COVID-19 is spreading in our community in a very worrying manner. We have to break these chains of transmission.”Tags: