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Summer camps and reopening of playgrounds to get green light

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Mother and daughter at the playground. Stock image

Mother and daughter at the playground. Stock image

Mother and daughter at the playground. Stock image

Children are expected to be allowed to have some screen-free fun in summer camps and playgrounds from next week as public health experts meet today to decide on the next phase of exiting the lockdown.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan would not be drawn on the specific recommendations to be made today, but he said his expert team will look at a range of measures to ease the burden of lockdown restrictions on young children and their parents.

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The GAA Cúl Camps are expected to be able to take place this summer, but all activities will have to be carried out with strict safeguards.

Dr Holohan said: "Government is going to consider and accept them before they become part of any easing of restrictions."

He confirmed the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), which meets today, will have the easing of measures affecting children on its agenda as well as matters such as the resumption of some form of visiting at nursing homes.

There is nothing in the figures at this point to indicate that Nphet will not be able to recommend that phase two of the lockdown exit goes ahead.

Dr Holohan was speaking as a further three people died from the virus, signalling relief that the death toll is falling along with new cases of the virus.

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Dr Tony Holohan. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Dr Tony Holohan. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Colin Keegan

Dr Tony Holohan. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

There have now been 1,659 Covid-19 related deaths in the Republic.

The number of new diagnoses also remained low at 47 cases. Around four in 10 people who are diagnosed with the virus do not know where they were infected, while well over half are close contacts of another person who has tested positive.

Figures also show that a number of counties saw no new people diagnosed with the disease between May 21 and 28.

The includes Kerry, Sligo, Wexford, Donegal and Meath.

Although the diagnosis of new cases is unpredictable, infectious disease consultant in Beaumont Hospital Dr Sam McConkey has pointed out that it is too early for people to travel from counties like Dublin and Cork, where cases of the virus are highest, to counties which have fewer infections.

The latest figures from the department show that of the 25,064 cases confirmed as of midnight last Monday, 3,298 cases - the equivalent of 13pc - have been hospitalised.

Of these, 409 cases have been admitted to intensive care units.

The number of confirmed cases among healthcare workers has breached 8,000, accounting for nearly 32pc of people who have caught the infection.

Dublin has the highest number of cases at 12,093, making up 48pc, followed by Cork with 1,517 cases, accounting for 6pc, and Kildare with 1,419 cases (5.6pc).

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said there has been one new cluster in a direct provision centre in the week up to midnight on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, a majority of people believe that others are ignoring the two-metre physical distancing rule, according to a survey commissioned by the Department of Health.

Just 40pc of people think others are obeying the safe distancing gap - a drop of 11pc in the last two weeks.

Irish Independent


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