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Coronavirus: Covid-19 reproductive rate lower in Republic than Northern Ireland

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Stability: Simon Harris

Stability: Simon Harris

PA

Stability: Simon Harris

The reproductive rate for Covid-19 in the Republic is now lower than Northern Ireland's.

Health Minister Simon Harris told the Dail yesterday the reproductive rate is now around 0.5, according to estimates carried out.

And Professor Philip Nolan, who leads a team modelling Covid-19 trends in the Republic, said all the main methods to measure the reproduction number - the number of people an infected person infects - put it between 0.5 and 0.6.

Yesterday, Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster said Northern Ireland's reproductive rate (R0) is currently 0.8 which she added is too high a figure to relax the lockdown.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

The lower rate in the Republic is now considered stable, while admissions to hospitals and ICUs have halved since last week.

Mr Harris said: "The R0 was previously in a range of 0.5-0.8 - it is now between 0.3-0.5 in some estimates and the overall rate is now considered stable at around 0.5.

"Last week, hospital admissions were at around 40 per day, whereas this week it is around 20 per day.

"Last week, ICU admissions were at about four to six per day - modelling now shows it is at two per day this week."

John Edmunds, professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said latest estimates of the UK's R0 are that it is currently between 0.75 and 1.0.

A couple of weeks ago he said he would have put the R0 at 0.6 or 0.7, maybe up to 0.8, but because of infection rates in care homes and hospitals, the overall estimate now stands at up to 1.0.

He said he believed around 20,000 new cases a day were still occurring in the UK, which would make contact tracing currently "impossible".

He also told the Commons Science and Technology Committee that the extent of the spread of Covid-19 in care homes and hospitals was currently an unknown number.


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