Coronavirus: Eight more deaths recorded ahead of new push on face coverings

A further eight deaths of people diagnosed with Covid-19 have been reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). This bring to 1,703 the total number of deaths in the Republic.

NPHET also reported another eight new cases of the disease at its briefing on Thursday. This brings the total number of cases to 25,238.

NPHET discussed the wearing of face-masks at its meeting on Thursday but did not vary its advice, which recommends the optional use of face coverings in circumstances where distancing is a challenge, such as shopping and public transport.

However, officials agreed to begin a communications campaign next week to encourage greater compliance with its advice on face coverings.

Earlier on Thursday, a World Health Organisation (WHO) special envoy said face coverings should be mandatory on public transport and were a “proper part” of the overall strategy to fight Covid-19.

Dr David Nabarro told an Oireachtas committee his personal view was that regular face coverings should ideally have multiple layers but there was no need for special material or cloth.

Department of Health officials told a briefing on Thursday that the reproduction number, a measure of how many people a confirmed case went on to infect, now stood at between 0.4 and 0.8.

There are currently 88 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in hospital. Of these, 28 are in intensive care.