THE RISK of contracting coronavirus in Ireland now stands at about “one in a million”, according to a leading specialist in infectious diseases.
Professor Sam McConkey, head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons, told Brendan O’Connor on RTE Radio 1 that people should feel reassured that it is safe to go out and resume some semblance of normal life.
"The number of unexpected cases of Covid-19 or of SARS 2 virus is around a one in a million level in Ireland and many of the numbers that we're seeing each day in Ireland are known contacts of other cases, so they're not unexpected,” Professor McConkey explained.
"Each day we're getting 10 or 15 cases but the majority of those now are known house contacts or work contacts.
"They're already in self-isolation because they were already known to be close to somebody who had it already, so they're part of a known chain of an epidemic spread.
"The circulation level in the community is very low, about the one in a million."
The infectious diseases expert singled out Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo as counties carrying especially low risks of contracting the virus to the point where social distancing may not be required.
"It has been low for several weeks, so that's very very good news,” he said.
"My view is that if your granny lives in Sligo, Leitrim or Donegal and you live there, maybe it's ok there to hug your granny because there isn't any of the stuff about.
"If you live in North Dublin perhaps where there's a bit more or somewhere there's a big meat factory where there's been an outbreak, or if you're in a household where there has been a recent outbreak, then maybe you shouldn't."
The comments come a date after Ireland reported no new deaths from Covid-19 and just six confirmed cases.