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Coronavirus: One further death and 520 new cases as EU Commissioner predicts July reopening due to vaccination

There have been one further Coronavirus-related death and 520 new cases, according to figures released by the health authorities this evening.

Eight of the cases announced are in Laois, meaning the county’s 14-day incidence rate has increased again, to 90.7

Of the cases notified today:

  • 258 are men / 262 are women
  • 79% are under 45 years of age
  • The median age is 28 years old
  • 242 in Dublin, 36 in Meath, 30 in Offaly, 29 in Kildare, 25 in Wicklow and the remaining 158 cases are spread across 20 other counties

As of 8am today, 359 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 81 are in ICU. 14 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

As of March 19th 2021, 668,529 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland:

  • 487,466 people have received their first dose
  • 181,063 people have received their second dose

Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said; “It is a very welcome development to see new visitation guidance for nursing homes coming into effect from today. As we begin to experience the benefits of vaccination, it is a reminder of what we are collectively working towards, a vaccination rollout that, along with our other protective measures, will end this pandemic.

“People have worked exceptionally hard over the past three months to reduce transmission in our communities. We have shown time and again that we can act collectively to protect one another. Please keep this going over the coming weeks.”

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said; “For the week of the 7th-13th of March, 60% of disease incidence is taking place through close contact transmission and 24% in the community. 59% of transmissions are occurring in households. Outside of the household, almost half of transmissions are occurring in social gatherings and the workplace.”

Dr. Cillian de Gascun, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, said: “The B117 variant, Ireland’s most dominant variant of COVID-19 accounts for more than 90% of our cases and is extremely transmissible. Public health advice aims to limit the opportunities this virus has to spread, and it should be noted that B117 does not need much opportunity to do so.

“The most effective way to stop the spread of this variant and all variants of COVID-19 is to limit your social contacts and follow public health advice.”

Dr Máirín Ryan, Deputy CEO of HIQA and Director of Health Technology Assessment, said: “Today, HIQA published an international review on public health measures and strategies to limit the spread of COVID-19. Ireland took a robust approach from the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and maintained low hospitalisations and ICU admissions per million population when compared to other countries.

“All countries with a published risk framework that is applied at national level are currently operating at the highest risk level.

“All countries included in the report have launched their COVID-19 vaccination programmes, with Israel having the largest share of its population fully vaccinated (47.5%) followed by Switzerland (4.3%) and Denmark (4.2%). In Ireland 3.3% of the population were fully vaccinated by the 12th of March.”

The COVID-19 Dashboard provides up-to-date information on the key indicators of COVID-19 in the community including daily data on Ireland’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

New Cases in Laois

  • March 21 – 8
  • March 20 – 10
  • March 19 – 5
  • March 18 – 16
  • March 17 – 5
  • March 16 – 6
  • March 15 – 4
  • March 14 – 2
  • March 13 – 5
  • March 12 – 3
  • March 11 – 2
  • March 10 – 8
  • March 9 – 3
  • March 8 – 1
  • March 7 – 5

14-day case rate in Laois per 100,000 population

  • March 21 – 90.9
  • March 20 – 85
  • March 19 – 83.8
  • March 18 – 83.8
  • March 17 – 76.7
  • March 16 – 77.9
  • March 15 – 86.2
  • March 14 – 81.5
  • March 13 – 93.3
  • March 12 – 103.9
  • March 11 – 118.1
  • March 10 – 133.4
  • March 9 – 135.8
  • March 8 – 157
  • March 7 – 168.8

New cases in Laois during past 14 days

  • March 21 – 77
  • March 20 – 72
  • March 19 – 71
  • March 18 – 71
  • March 17 – 65
  • March 16 – 66
  • March 15 – 73
  • March 14 – 69
  • March 13 – 79
  • March 12 – 88
  • March 11 – 100
  • March 10 – 113
  • March 9 – 115
  • March 8 – 133
  • March 7 – 143

EU Commissioner predicts July reopening 

Europe could have herd immunity against Covid-19 by July, as incoming vaccines are expected to speed up the continent’s vaccination roll-out, an EU Commissioner has said.

Thierry Breton, the commissioner for the internal market, told French broadcaster TF1: “Let’s take a symbolic date: by 14 July, we have the possibility of achieving immunity across the continent.

“We’re in the home stretch, because we know that to beat this pandemic there’s just one solution: vaccination. The vaccines are arriving.”

Mr Breton said he was confident more vaccines will arrive soon, with 300-350 million doses expected between now and June.

He added that 55 factories would now be producing vaccines in Europe.

SEE ALSO – Weekend Read: Remembering the Barrowhouse Ambush of 1921

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.