Another Irish coronavirus surge ‘difficult to manage’

Another coronavirus surge similar to the rapid onset of the infection in Ireland would be very difficult to manage, an official warned.

The country has played down hopes of a swift easing of social-distancing restrictions and is expected to extend the emergency measures early in May.

In early March, the country went from 50 people in intensive care to 140 – and that total remains “significantly elevated”, Professor Philip Nolan said.

HEALTH Coronavirus Ireland
HEALTH Coronavirus Ireland

He added: “Currently, there are 106 patients in ICU.

“If a similar surge occurred on top of our current ICU figure, we would find it very difficult to manage the treatment of patients.”

The chair of Ireland’s expert group modelling the disease’s spread said: “This reflects the sensitivity required in relaxing restrictions.”

A near lockdown on movement was implemented in Ireland in mid-March, some days before the UK took similar measures.

Another 43 people with Covid-19 in the Republic have died, taking the total to 1,232, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre said on Thursday evening.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said a “sizeable” number were in intensive care.

“They are still big numbers,” he said.

He added: “There is a risk that if further spread of the infection were to occur we would get into difficulties sooner than if we had lower numbers to make our recommendations.”

He said the number of ICU admissions had fallen quite a bit over recent days.