Coronavirus: 14 further deaths and 455 new cases reported in the State
Four new walk-in test centres open as HSE aims to identify asymptomatic cases
Two walk-in centres will open in Dublin, one will open in Limerick and another in Waterford. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
A further 14 deaths relating to Covid-19 have been reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).
This brings to 4,783 the total number of deaths in the pandemic.
Those who died ranged in age from 55-90 years and the median age was 72.
On Saturday, Nphet also reported 455 confirmed cases of the disease, bringing to 240,643 the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland since the pandemic began.
Some 208 Covid-19 patients were receiving hospital treatment on Saturday morning, including 11 people who were hospitalised in the last 24 hours. This is a slight increase on the 200 people being treated for the virus in hospital on Friday morning. A total of 52 people were in ICU on Saturday morning, up from 51 on Friday.
Of the new cases reported on Saturday, 212 were men and 237 were women while 77 per cent were aged under 45. The median age for a positive test was 30.
Some 301,628 people were fully vaccinated and had received both jabs by Wednesday, April 7th, according to HSE data. Some 716,636 people had received their first dose, while a total of 1,018,264 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered by Wednesday.
A total of 107,628 tests have been carried out over the past seven days with a positivity rate of 2.7 per cent.
On Saturday morning, the HSE reported that, as of Friday morning at 8am, there were 200 confirmed cases in hospitals, down nine from the previous day, and 51 people with the virus in ICUs, down from 53 on Thursday.
Four new walk-in centres opened across Dublin, Waterford and Limerick on Saturday. In Dublin, they will be at Cumann Naomh Peregrine, Blakestown Road, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15; at Ballyfermot Sports Complex, 33-39 Gurteen Road, Redcowfarm, Dublin 10.
In Limerick, one will open at St Joseph’s Health Campus, 3 Mulgrave Street, Limerick and in Waterford, at WIT College Street Campus, Cork Road, Waterford.
The centres will open from 11am to 7pm daily, for the full week, except the Limerick centre, which will be open for six days.
A walk-in testing centre already in operation at Coláiste Eoin, Cappagh Road, Finglas, Dublin, will remain open until 7pm on Sunday.
Another walk-in testing centre at Crumlin GAA, Club House, Lorcan O’ Toole Park, Park Crescent, Crumlin, Dublin, D12 will remain operational until April 17th.
The centres are aimed at identifying asymptomatic cases in the community, and are open to anyone over the age of 16 who lives within 5km and has not had a positive result for Covid-19 within the previous six months.
It is hoped they will pick up cases of coronavirus including any new variants which are circulating.
Ruth Andrews of the Incoming Tour Operators Association said the expansion of the quarantine list to include countries where vaccination was progressing was “disappointing” and of “huge concern, in terms of the reputational damage this will do to our core tourism markets, which include North American – Canada and the United States – as well as those core continental European markets”.
She said it was understandable from a public health perspective, but added there was “no exit strategy, no information in terms of what we can communicate to our international partners and customers, as to when we will be able to welcome them back into the country”.
Speaking on The Business on RTÉ Radio One on Saturday morning, she said variants were of concern, but noted some of the countries on the list were further ahead in vaccination schemes than Ireland, such as the US, where the hope is the entire adult population will be vaccinated by the end of May.
“We’re not suggesting we let Americans in in the short term, but what should we be communicating to these customers who have pent-up demand to travel, who are interested in Ireland?”
“They’ll go to markets that are opened up.”
Iceland has opened up to vaccinated customers, where, she said, demand had gone “through the roof”.
“When you introduce such restrictive regimes as quarantine hotels, it sends out a message now, at a very vital time, when people are thinking about travelling because they know they will be vaccinated, it sends the message that Ireland is closed.”
At a meeting on Friday night, Ministers added 16 countries to the list including Canada, Belgium, Italy, France and Luxembourg.
The other countries to be added to the list are Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan, Turkey, Armenia, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Curacao, Maldives and Ukraine
The list will be expanded from next Thursday, although the inclusion of the US and Canada is subject to there being sufficient capacity in the system.
Germany was removed from the list after new advice was received from the Travel Advisory Group.
Measures to strengthen home quarantining were also agreed. Passengers flying in from countries not deemed to be of “high-risk” due to the circulation of Covid-19 variants must now have a day five Covid-19 test booked with the HSE, as well as a negative pre-flight PCR test.
The Government is also to consider how to approach passengers who are fully vaccinated.