Revealed: The two Irish counties facing extended lockdown, due to ultra-high Covid-19 incidence rates
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Revealed: The two Irish counties facing extended lockdown, due to ultra-high Covid-19 incidence rates

Two counties in Ireland currently have Covid-19 incidence rates vastly greater than the rest of the country, and are therefore furthest away from exiting lockdown.

Ireland is set to begin a gradual easing of restrictions on April 5, though lockdown itself is largely expected to continue into May at the very least.

The Government has warned that there will be no significant easing of restrictions until the level of infection drops, and some areas of the country are in much better positions than others for that to happen.

Offaly and Longford are currently the two counties with the highest 14-day incidence rates, which is the metric used to determine how many cases are identified per 100,000 people over a two-week period.

Not only do those two counties have the highest rates, but they're the highest rates in the country by a significant margin.

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Offaly is the hardest-hit region, with a rate of 402.8, while Longford has a rate of 379.2.

For context, the national average is 199.4.

In total, there are just 11 counties which still have incidence rates above 200, but Offaly and Longford stand well above the rest.

Westmeath, Dublin, Limerick, Louth, Laois, Kildare, Galway, Meath and Mayo have above average incidence rates, but aren't anyway close to hitting the heights of the top two.

Co. Kerry has the lowest incidence rate in the country at the moment, at 59.6, followed closely by neighbouring Cork on 61.2 and Kilkenny on 76.6.

Last year, Ireland adopted a county-by-county tier system, which placed different levels of public health restrictions in different areas depending on the level of infection there.

Since October 2020, Ireland has committed to an all-for-one-one-for-all strategy, but should the likes of Offaly and Longford be unable to reduce their infection rates, there's a chance they could face a longer lockdown period than the rest of the country.

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