Coronavirus: Visitors to be capped nationwide at six from one other home

Restrictions are tightened across State following NPHET advice amid fear over worsening Covid-19 case numbers

Coronavirus: ‘The reproduction number is estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.4’

Coronavirus: ‘The reproduction number is estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.4’

 

Visitors to private households will be restricted to six people from one other home amid concern about a further deterioration in Covid-19 cases nationally.

The State’s public health team recommended yesterday a maximum of six people from a single household be allowed to visit another household in all parts of the State.

It said people could continue to meet socially in other settings, but only with people from one other household.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has also not recommended additional restrictions in counties with high levels of Covid-19 and said Donegal and Dublin would remain at Level 3 restrictions put in place almost two weeks ago.

A Cabinet meeting was not needed to approve the tightening in visitor restrictions as such changes are already provided for in the Government’s roadmap.

The emergency team noted a further deterioration from last week, with the five-day average for cases now 412 and 18 counties with an increased incidence rate of disease, it said.

“The reproduction number is estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.4, with the growth rate in cases between 4-5 per cent per day.”

The team noted a “particular concern” in relation to trends in indicators of disease severity: “There are 119 people in hospital with 20 in critical care and there were 32 deaths in September. While there continues to be a number of counties with particularly high incidence, the NPHET’s main concern now is the overall national picture.”

Of the 442 new confirmed cases in the State yesterday, 170 are in Dublin, 47 in Cork, 28 in Donegal, 23 in Meath, 21 in Galway, 20 in Monaghan, 14 in Clare, 12 in Roscommon, and 11 each in Laois and Longford. There were also 10 cases each in Cavan, Limerick, and Tipperary, nine in Kildare, eight in Wicklow, five in Louth and five in Wexford with the remaining 28 cases in nine counties.

Some 67 per cent are under the age of 45, with 54 per cent confirmed to be associated with outbreaks or to be close contacts of a confirmed case.

A total of 69 cases have been identified as community transmission.

News of the new restrictions on visitor numbers nationwide came after Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the number of Covid-19 hospitalisations and intensive care admissions should be taken into account when deciding on economic restrictions.

Other metrics

Speaking in Brussels, Mr Martin echoed calls from Tánaiste Leo Varadkar for a greater focus on metrics other than case numbers. Mr Martin sounded a note of caution, stating hospital admissions were rising and at a “serious” level.

Asked if factors such as admissions should be taken into account, he said: “I think they always have been to a degree. Of course we think they should be taken into account. There is a relationship between case numbers and ICU admissions and hospitalisations and that is what always concerns public health officials. The relationship was quite clear in the first phase, which led to the lockdown, in the second phase there is a longer time lag between case numbers and the numbers going into ICU. But the numbers are rising in hospitals now, I think we were over 130 yesterday so it is serious.”

Meanwhile chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan, who has been on leave, will return to his post next week. He had stepped back to spend time with his family and to help care for his wife who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She is understood to be receiving continuing care.