CORONAVIRUS has been “virtually eliminated” from Ireland’s streets according to a top doctor.
Ireland reported no new deaths from coronavirus for the first time in over two months this past Monday, May 25, in what was heralded as a “Day of Hope” by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Clinical Medical Officer Dr Colm Henry noted that community transmission of the virus had dropped massively.
However, he was at pains to warn that any swift lifting of restrictions could reverse the progress made so far.
"We have seen this virus virtually eliminated from our streets,” he said.
"We must take great care as we ease these restrictions that we don't allow this virus back onto our streets.
"We don't see a return of widespread community transmission and our hospitals being overrun as a result."
Dr. Henry’s caution echoed the sentiments of Health Minister Simon Harris.
Mr Harris told RTE’s Prime Time that while he remained “optimistic” that Ireland’s plans for returning to the “new normal” could be sped up, he expects case figures to increase later this week.
This increase would be in line with expectations following the first lifting of restrictions and could offer an indication of how well they have worked.
"Yes (phases could be sped up) is the short answer but it depends entirely on the public health advice,"” he said.
‘The signs are encouraging but not to take from the optimism, we've only gone through the first full week of the easing of phase one.
"We won't yet see until later this week the impact of that easing on our cases.
"I'm optimistic though, I think the people of this country have tried so hard and are getting it.
"What I don't want to do is try and look like we are going fast and have to turn back when we have a spike in our deaths or spike in our cases."