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Coronavirus: Seven further deaths and 418 new cases as Varadkar hopes most restrictions lifted by August

There have been seven further Coronavirus-related deaths and 418 new cases, according to figures released by the health authorities today.

5 of these occurred in April, 1 in February and 1 in January. The median age of those who died was 82 years and the age range was 67-92 years.

With less than five new cases announced today, Laois now has a 14-day incidence rate of 53.1.

After being the third highest county in the country a matter of weeks ago, Laois now has the sixth lowest incidence rate in the country.

Of the cases notified today:

  • 199 are men / 214 are women
  • 73% are under 45 years of age
  • The median age is 30 years old
  • 167 in Dublin, 39 in Cork, 32 in Donegal, 29 in Kildare, 22 in Meath and the remaining 129 cases are spread across 20 other counties

As of 8am today, 137 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 37 are in ICU. 18 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

As of Monday May 3rd, 1,621,870 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland:

  • 1,174,292 people have received their first dose
  • 447,578 people have received their second dose

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, said: “As we look forward to the greater reopening of activities and services, our key objective now is to maintain our course in coming weeks and follow the public health advice in our daily activities.

“When you are planning to meet someone, remember that outdoors is safer for everybody. And when you meet up, stay at a 2m distance, keep to a small group and avoid crowded areas – this will minimise the risk of passing the virus from person to person, driving down the incidence rate and keeping our society open.

“Throughout this pandemic we have seen outbreaks and clusters of disease as a result of social events such as funerals, wakes and birthday parties.

“Unfortunately we need to continue to stay vigilant to the infectious nature of this disease and avoid congregating together in large groups. We need all sectors of society to continue to encourage and support the public health messages and to help everyone to stay safe.”

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.

Leo hopes restrictions almost gone by August

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said he hopes August will be the month when things are relatively normal again in Ireland.

He said he hoped that by then, the vast majority of restrictions would be gone.

Mr Varadkar said he was hopeful that there would be indoor dining and people would be allowed indoors in pubs in July.

But he said not everything may be the same and there would be questions about mass gatherings and indoor events and international travel.

“What I am looking at very closely is what is happening in countries that are a bit ahead of us in terms of vaccination, the United Kingdom and Israel, and life in Israel is pretty much back to normal, they’re welcoming tourists again and they’re having not very large gatherings, but they are having mass gatherings,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said he would hope to see the “vast majority of restrictions gone” by August.

“Kids going back to school as normal in September, college happening on campus, all those things and a pretty normal Christmas in terms of seeing our friends and relations,” he said.

“But nobody can promise that. This is a new virus which is only around a year or so and the vaccines aren’t even around a year.

“It’s possible that the efficacy of the vaccines could wear off after a certain point in time, we don’t know what might happen in terms of variants that may be vaccine resistant and we don’t know what will happen when the winter comes.

“I think we have to get through another winter to be sure, but I do think life would be pretty much normal in August and September, but not exactly normal. I think there will still be restrictions around international travel and mass gatherings, particularly indoors. That’s my best guess.”

SEE ALSO – Gardai hit out at ‘anti-social’ behaviour at popular Laois tourist location

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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.