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Increases in Covid-19 cases in border counties described as ‘worrying” by physician

Increases in Covid-19 cases in border counties described as ‘worrying” by physician

The increase in Covid-19 cases in border counties has been described as “worrying” by a leading public health physician.

Dr Gabriel Scally, who his is the president of the Epidemiology and Public Health section of the Royal Society of Medicine, told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show the morning that there could be a so-called “super spreader” in the region, which is the cause of the high numbers of Covid-19 cases, but this will not be known until investigations and comprehensive tracing are carried out.

Unsurprisingly given its population Dublin has had the most cases of Covid-19 relative to population since the start of the pandemic until recent days when it was surpassed by Co Cavan but it has also emerged that the number of confirmed cases have been growing faster in Louth than anywhere else.

Over the past three weeks incidence of coronavirus have grown 242% in Dublin, 399% in Cavan, 573% in Monaghan and 819% in Louth.

Dr Scally has said that to find out the cause of the higher numbers would require a great deal of co-operation with authorities in Northern Ireland.

He said in his opinion “there is no way out of this without an all-island approach”.

Meanwhile, police and health authorities in Northern Ireland say they are concerned that an ongoing debate about travel restrictions could encourage people to breach regulations introduced to limit the spread of coronavirus.

In a joint statement, the PSNI and Department of Health warn that ignoring the guidance on travel could have “potentially devastating consequences”.

“Unlike the Republic, which has announced specific movement restrictions, the Stormont Executive has not imposed stipulated limits. Instead, the regulations state that no-one should travel without “reasonable excuse”.

It is up to the police to determine what is reasonable, and that has resulted in claims that some officers have interpreted the rules too strictly.

The PSNI issued 358 penalty notice fines between 30 March and 24 April.