The Republic heads into the bank holiday weekend in a “really strong position” concerning Covid-19, HSE chief executive Paul Reid has said.
The Health Service Executive said on Saturday the number of patients with coronavirus in hospital is now down to 74, with 29 of those in intensive care.
A further 416 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported in the State on Saturday evening as authorities and officials urged the public to socialise safely over the weekend.
“Notwithstanding some challenges, we head into the bank holiday weekend in a really strong position,” said Mr Reid. “We’ve achieved too much to let it slip now.”
Local authorities countrywide are to put extra bins and toilets on streets to facilitate outdoor summer socialising this year.
In Dublin city, 150 portaloo toilets and more than 100 bins will be added to the city centre from this weekend to accommodate people socialising in the city.
The move followed calls from Taoiseach Micheál Martin and other politicians for better outdoor facilities on the city’s streets after a backlash about rubbish left after on-street drinking last weekend.
On Friday evening, 14 people were arrested after gardaí baton charged a group who had congregated on South William Street in Dublin city centre. Gardaí said bottles and other objects had been thrown at officers while they patrolled the area.
Meanwhile, a blitz of Covid-19 testing is planned for Limerick after the rate of infection in the county nearly doubled in less than 10 days.
It is understood the 14-day incidence rate of cases per 100,000 population grew from 218 as of midnight, May 25th, to 426 as of midnight on Thursday of this week – almost 3½ times the national average of 122 cases per 100,000 population.
State chief medical officer Tony Holohan told a meeting of Limerick politicians and public health teams on Friday that a local lockdown is not envisaged at present.
A protest rally in Cork heard the Government accused by a GP of seeking to introduce medical apartheid into Ireland by favouring those who have been vaccinated against coronavirus at the expense of those who don't want to take the vaccine.
Dr Pat Morrissey from Adare in Co Limerick told the rally attended by some 250 people in Cork that the virus was being used by the Government and the World Economic Forum to try and take control of people’s lives.
“Why did the Government suppress access to effective treatments such as Hydroxychloroquine, Ivermectin and vitamin D – could it be the emergency use of the vaccines was dependent on no alternative treatments being available?”
He accused the Government and public health experts of using fear to “force the people of Ireland to believe the vaccine would be their golden ticket” when there was no clear evidence that the vaccines were safe to use.