Coronavirus: Ireland now recording ‘almost zero’ new cases with no hidden clusters

Ireland has “almost zero” new cases of Covid-19 and all indicators of the disease are either stable or declining, three weeks into the easing of restrictions, public-health officials have said.

Vowing to “go as low as we possibly can” towards eliminating the disease, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said he did not believe there were hidden clusters “out there”, separate from the small number of daily cases now being reported.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) at its meeting on Thursday considered a call by a group of scientists for travel controls and other tough measures to be introduced short-term with the aim of “crushing the curve”.

The group was satisfied additional measures were not needed, according to Dr Holohan.

“The absolutist notion of elimination [of the disease] from the island with no possibility of recurrence or re-emergence is an attractive-sounding strategy but is not practical or implementable,” Prof Philip Nolan, chair of the NPHET Irish epidemiological modelling advisory group, said.

“We have almost zero cases occurring day by day. This is an effective strategy and integrates well with other countries in Europe with whom we want to increase our level of exchange and not decrease it.”