People around Ireland have been called to interrupt the transmission of Covid-19 as a leading member of health trade unions in the North described alarm bells “ringing across the island of Ireland.”
The Republic’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, has warned that the profile of the disease continues to deteriorate and individual action is needed to suppress the virus.
It comes as yesterday was the third time this week that the number of daily cases in the Republic passed the 600 mark.
Galway is the worst affected of the Connacht counties with 35 new cases reported on Friday, and the county’s total number of cases now approaching the 1,000 mark.
As of last Wednesday night, Mayo’s daily increase of nine new positive cases of coronavirus brought its total number of cases to 690 compared to Roscommon’s 516 and Sligo’s 240.
Leitrim has the fewest number of cases in the entire country with just 125.
The State’s test and trace system has come under fire as of late, as DCU Professor Anthony Staines criticised it as a “national embarrassment”.
“There’s been no increase in the core testing and tracing staff in the public health departments since January this year, which is in itself shocking,” he said.
“They built a testing and tracing infrastructure from scratch in March, and it was very carefully dismantled in July, which was absolute insanity.”
Prof Staines said he believes more staff and fast screening tests for Covid-19 are needed, as 617 new cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday, with five further deaths.
Some 123 cases were located in Dublin, 107 in Cork, 42 in Meath, 36 in Kerry, 35 in Galway and the remaining 274 cases were spread across 21 counties.
The Cabinet sub-committee for Covid-19 has asked the Department of Health and Department of Justice to draft legislation for a system of fines for people who breach Covid-19 restrictions, it is understood.
There have also been calls for more cross-Border cooperation after a record number of Covid-19 cases were recorded in the North yesterday.
1,080 infections were confirmed in the region yesterday, with almost a third of the North’s cases recorded over the past week as some 5,272 cases have been reported.
The seven-day infection rate per 100,000 in the Derry City and Strabane council area is now 824.3, among the highest in Britain and Ireland.