Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the “worrying” increase in coronavirus infections in Dublin would require additional restrictions and a “different response” than in the rest of the country.
Expressing concern about a 20-fold increase in Covid-19 cases in Dublin in the space of a few weeks, Mr Varadkar said the Government would make a decision on restrictions on Tuesday.
“While that has not yet resulted in a dramatic increase in people in hospital or ICUs or deaths, the truth is that it is probably going to head that way if we don’t get on top of it,” he said.
The incidence of Covid-19 in two areas of Dublin has risen above the 100 mark per 100,000 population for the first time since the spring, new figures show.
The 14-day incidence of the virus now stands at 101.9 per 100,000 people in Dublin South-East and 100.6 in Dublin North-West, according to the latest epidemiological report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
Effectively, this means about one person in a thousand in each area has contracted the disease over the past fortnight.
A total of 1,068 cases were notified in Dublin over the two-week period up to last Friday.
Speaking on a visit a leisure centre in Naas, Co Kildare to announce a new grant for reopening businesses across the country, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment said he was watching the situation in Spain and Madrid where there has been a surge in new Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations.
“We don’t want to go there. There is an opportunity to turn the curve again, flatten the curve again in Dublin, and we will have to make a decision as Government tomorrow as to what mix of additional restrictions will be required in the Dublin,” he said.
“Based on data, based on the evidence, the situation in Dublin is markedly different from the rest of the country and that will require a different response.”
This would be borne in mind when it comes to whether the Government will approve the reopening of Dublin “wet pubs” that do not serve substantial meals on September 21st, he said.
Mr Varadkar said that the Government was not considering restricted movements experienced in the March-April lockdown for any part of the country but that “some regions and some counties are going to see some local restrictions that were seen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly.”
His message to any county that “may be heading into additional restrictions like Dublin” is that that the public can suppress the virus if people work together, he told reporters.
Dublin South East, which stretches from Baggot Street through Rathmines and Ranelagh to Leopardstown and Sandyford, recorded 126 new cases. Dublin North-West, which stretches from Cabra to Mulhuddart and includes many recently-built areas in west Dublin, recorded 209.
In Dublin South, by contrast, there were 44 new cases, giving a 14-day incidence of just 32.3. Sligo, at 4.6, has the lowest county incidence of the disease, followed by Cork, at 8.1.
Overall in the Republic, 2,016 new cases were notified, giving a national incidence of 42.34. Some 58 patients were hospitalised and two admitted to ICU, and there were four deaths among confirmed cases.
The HSE says there were 57 Covid-19 patients in hospital on Sunday evening, including seven new admissions over the preceding 24 hours. Ten confirmed cases are in ICU, and eight are on ventilators.
Within the hospital system, 59 critical care beds are available and 439 general beds.
Meanwhile, the latest update from the European Centre for Disease Control shows the incidence of the disease is twice that in Germany of Sweden.
Ireland is currently reporting a 14-day incidence of 45.4 to the ECDC, compared to 21.7 in Germany and 22.7 in Sweden.
Most countries in Europe are experiencing a surge in cases at present – with the UK reporting an incidence of 51.1 and Spain having the highest rate, at 270.7.