No major increase in virus spread since restrictions eased
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No major increase in virus spread since restrictions eased

THERE HAS been no major increase in the spread of coronavirus since Ireland entered phase 1 of exiting lockdown.

On 18 May, some of Ireland's lockdown restrictions were tweaked, allowing certain shops to open, people to visit up to four friends outdoors while maintaining social distance, and citizens allowed to venture up to 5km from home for exercise.

The Government had warned that its planned phased reopening of the country could be reversed if there is a spike in cases-- however it seems the people of Ireland "have learned how to go about their business and not spread this virus".

The positive comments come from National Public Health Emergency Team member Professor Philip Nolan, who is chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group for the team.

Speaking this morning on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he assured people that there had been no significant increased spread of the virus, and that as long as citizens continue to adhere to measures including social distancing and regular hand washing, and to isolate and contact a GP at the first signs of any symptoms, it will be possible "in a cautious manner" to regain many of the activities which have been lost to the pandemic.

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Professor Nolan went on to say that every step forward must be done in a cautious manner and under constant risk assessment, and admitted that limiting our social and physical contacts is something which will be with us for a long time to come.

The virus will decline in strength the longer everyone adheres to social distancing, Professor Nolan continued, and pointed out that half of cases now being confirmed are from members of the same household as known cases.

The National Public Health Emergency Team and Professor Nolan are watching carefully as other countries ease their restrictions, particularly as children go back to school, but warned that other countries and cultures behave differently so making comparisons may prove difficult.

His comments come as the Government faces questions regarding sending children back to school in September amid fears the numbers of children in classes are too large to maintain effective social distancing.