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“We could have our lives back by Christmas, if people work to suppress the virus” says public health expert

Professor Anthony Staines from DCU says people are willing to get the numbers as low as possible

The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet this morning to analyse the spread of Covid-19 across the country.

Health officials are monitoring Cork, Galway, Roscommon and Monaghan, but the Acting Chief Medical Officer says it is close to becoming ‘a national issue’.

429 cases of the virus were reported yesterday, with one new death. If any of the new cases are in Carlow or Kilkenny, it’s four or less in each county. (For latest figures see here).

Dr Ronan Glynn says the ‘window of opportunity’ for this not to become a national issue is closing noting “We look at the data on an ongoing basis every Thursday & more frequently if necessary, there are 130 people in hospitals, 15 in the last 24 hours, that’s a concerning trend so we’ll monitor it closely but the sooner people act the sooner we can turn the tide on this”.

It comes as a public health expert says we could have our lives back by Christmas – if people work to suppress the virus.

Professor Anthony Staines from DCU says people are willing to get the numbers as low as possible, commenting “But many people are spreading this virus not realising they’re sick & that’s what we have to change if we want to bring it down and it is hard, it is tough, the benefits of bringing this virus under control we could all have our lives back by Christmas if we pull together, if we have the right policies, the right strategies, the vast majority of Irish people will get behind this, that’s what the opinion polls say”.

In Northern Ireland new restrictions are likely to be introduced today, after a big spike in Covid-19 cases.

A record 424 cases were detected yesterday, and nearly 2,000 in the past week.

The Stormont executive’s meeting today to discuss new restrictions – after Health Minister Robin Swann said they are needed.

Anne Speed, the lead negotiator for the North’s health trade unions, says medical staff are very anxious and notes “It’s putting a great deal of pressure now on the health service which is trying to restart the critical care services which were suspended during the last surge so we’ll be looking at what the advice and guidance is from Stormont today, we’re hoping it’ll be clear and decisive”.

In the UK, Boris Johnson’s warned there could be further lockdown restrictions if people don’t make “sacrifices for the safety of others”.

More than 7,000 people tested positive for coronavirus in the latest daily figures for the second day running.

The prime minister says he doesn’t want a return to how life was in March saying “I don’t want to go back to a national lockdown where the overall guidance is ‘stay at home,’ that is not what we’re saying, we want to keep the economy moving, we want to keep young people, pupils in education”.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s apologised after being pictured breaking coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The Sun has published a photo of the former British Labour leader at a dinner party with eight others, flouting a ban on gatherings of more than six people.

The 71-year-old’s told the newspaper he’s sorry for his mistake.