PHASE FOUR of the reopening of the country could be delayed if Ireland continued to experience a spike in new cases, the Acting CMO has said.
Dr Ronan Glynn yesterday announced that 85 new cases of the virus had been identified in the community; the highest number in ten weeks since 115 cases were confirmed on 22 May.
Stating that the figures indicate "how quickly Covid-19 can re-emerge in our country", Dr Glynn said it is "vital that everyone continues to avoid large crowds, physically distance, wear face coverings where appropriate and wash hands regularly.
"Covid-19 is extremely infectious and no one is immune."
Speaking on the alarming rise in cases, Dr Glynn said we do not yet know if they are "a blip associated with a number of specific clusters, or... a sign of something more significant."
The spike in cases, which includes a number of clusters in counties across Ireland, has raised the country's average daily cases from the 20s to the 30s, he added.
Ireland is due to enter Phase 4 of the reopening of the country on 10 August, after it was pushed back from 20 July due to a rise in cases.
However, Dr Glynn said they could not confirm whether this will go ahead.
"Next week is very far away at this point," he told press at yesterday's briefing. "We'll be monitoring this in hours: in the next 24 hours and the next 48 hours.
"We'll be making no decisions about moving to Phase 4 or other measures until we see how this plays out in terms of the numbers.
When asked what advice he would give to pub owners hoping to reopen for business on 10 August, Dr Glynn said he was "very sorry" for the position they were in "but our focus here has to be on public health".
Earlier this month, National Virus Reference Laboratory Director Dr Cillian De Gascun told Today With Sarah McInerney that there was always a possibility of Ireland "taking a step backwards into Phase Two" if new daily cases hits high double digits or over 100 per day.
When questioned about Dr de Gascun's comments at that evening's press briefing, Dr Glynn said "We've always been honest that this isn't a one way street with this disease."
"We don't want to go backwards but we can't rule it out unfortunately."