77% of Thursday's Covid-19 cases in Ireland under the age of 25 4 weeks ago

77% of Thursday's Covid-19 cases in Ireland under the age of 25

"If we try to go back to living and acting like we did last January, it is only a matter of time before we're facing a significant problem with this disease."

There has been a "clear change" in the origin of Covid-19 cases in the Republic of Ireland, according to Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn, with cases among young people and those relating to travel now playing a more significant role.

Updated modelling figures given at the Department of Health briefing on Thursday evening put Ireland's R-number "at or above" 1, although that number is considered to be quite volatile due to the small number of cases in the country at present.

On Thursday, 23 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland were reported, with 77% of these occurring in people under the age of 25 and 65% directly or indirectly related to travel. All cases reported Thursday occurred in people below the age of 45.

Dr Glynn said that while a rise in cases is not out of the ordinary, considering Ireland lifted certain restrictions on Monday of last week, it is still a concerning development;

"It's not unexpected from the perspective that the measures in place are easing, and I want to reiterate that this is not about targeting a group, particular age group or any other group within the population, it's not about blame.

"It's really about protecting each other, and it's about reiterating the point that we can all get on that we get on with but we need to do so safely in the context of where we're at with this pandemic."

As the country opens up further, the messaging from public health officials has been one of personal responsibility, and urging people to take caution and avoid situations where they cannot follow public health advice.

Videos and images circulated on social media last week showed significant crowds outside pubs in Dublin city centre, and Dr Glynn warned again this evening that things cannot go back to 'normal' just yet;

"If we try to go back to living and acting like we did last January, it is only a matter of time before we're facing a significant problem with this disease", he said.

"We've got cases in a number of locations around the country linked to a cluster this evening, that demands a huge amount of resource to track down contacts, further cases, and if that replicates itself over the coming days and weeks, we will be back in a similar situation that we would be very concerned about", Dr Glynn concluded.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said that all key Covid-19 indicators continue to be stable or are declining, apart from the number of confirmed cases which has seen a slight increase in the past two weeks. He said that the R-number rising above one was not a reason to "sound an alarm", but it was necessary to "sound a note of caution", and urged people to act responsibly in the coming days and weeks.