Professor Philip Nolan

'We must take action immediately to prevent an almost unimaginable scenario'

As the cabinet bring in new restrictions, the authorities have been notified of a huge increase in COVID-19 cases - with more than 100 in Cavan and Monaghan.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been notified of 13 additional deaths related to COVID-19, bringing to 2,226 the death toll from the disease in the Republic.

As of midnight Tuesday, December 29, the HPSC has been notified of 1,718 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those cases notified today 66 were in Co Cavan and 44 in Monaghan.

A further breakdown of today's figures nationally show: 853 are men / 863 are women; 66% are under 45 years of age; the median age is 34 years old.

As of 2pm today 455 COVID-19 patients are hospitalised, of which 37 are in ICU. There have been 60 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

Professor Philip Nolan (pictured above), Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said; “The reproduction number remains very high and is currently estimated at 1.6 – 1.8. The growth rate is estimated to be 7-10% per day with a doubling time of 7-10 days.

“We must take action immediately to prevent an almost unimaginable scenario, where case numbers in 7 to 10 days time are twice what they are today. Stay home.”

Mitigation phase

“Ireland is no longer in a containment phase and is once again in a mitigation phase," said Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health. "Given the current levels of transmission in the community, every individual should consider themselves potentially infectious.

“It is essential that we all limit our contacts to our own household now, restrict our movements and do not give COVID-19 any further opportunities to spread.

“Everyone needs to stay at home other than for essential work or care. This is not the time to be visiting other houses.”