Coronavirus: 11 deaths and 390 cases reported in State
Varadkar indicates hairdressers and non-essential retail could reopen in May
Speaking following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said no further change to the vaccine rollout had been decided. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Eleven deaths and 390 further Covid-19 cases were reported by health authorities in the State on Tuesday.
Of the fatalities notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, four occurred this month, two in March, four in February and one in January. The median age of those who died was 83, with an age range of between 50 and 93 years.
There have now been 4,847 deaths in the Republic since the pandemic began.
As of 8am on Tuesday, 179 patients were being treated in hospital of which 48 have been admitted to intensive care units. There were 18 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
The latest infections were predominantly in men (215) with 67 per cent of the total in people under the age of 45. The median age was 34.
The majority were in Dublin (172) followed by counties Kildare (42), Meath (21), Tipperary (20) and Donegal (18).
Of 103,720 tests conducted in the last week, 2.7 per cent were positive.
On vaccines, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) said more than 1.2 million doses had been administered as of Sunday, including 855,512 people receiving a first dose and 352,947 receiving two.
In Northern Ireland, there was one further death of a patient who had previously tested positive for Covid-19, while another 124 people tested positive for the virus in the previous 24-hour reporting period.
Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the reopening of hairdressers and non-essential retail will be considered by Cabinet when it meets next week to look at easing restrictions in May.
Mr Varadkar said Cabinet has agreed to meet next week to hear advice from Nphet and to decide what restrictions will be waived next month.
The full return of construction, allowing more outdoor activities and the return of some religious services will also be considered.
Asked if the Cabinet will next week consider plans for the easing of restrictions later in the summer, Mr Varadkar said: “We would expect to be able to indicate very clearly what restrictions will be eased in May and then set out an indicative idea as to what could be eased in June and July.”
Speaking following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Mr Varadkar said no further change to the vaccine rollout had been decided. He acknowledged there are “pros and cons” to spacing out Covid-19 vaccine doses, but he said the Government has not yet received formal advice on the matter.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has sought the advice of deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) on the possibility. Research has shown good levels of immunity from a single dose. However, some experts have urged caution.
Whatever is decided, people who have have already had a first dose will receive their second jab as planned, Mr Varadkar assured.
“They won’t see their second dose being deferred. I think that would be unfair given they already have a date for their second dose and a legitimate expectation around that. As well as that people who have had their first dose are the most vulnerable.
It “makes sense” that people aged over 70, those who are medically vulnerable, and medical workers are fully protected.
The Cabinet agreed on Tuesday to proceed as planned with the further gradual easing of a number of restrictions from Monday. This includes the reopening of facilities for outdoor sports, including golf and tennis, and outdoor visitor attractions including zoos and heritage sites.
The maximum attendance at funerals will increase to 25 but the ban on other gatherings remains.