Coronavirus: 14 deaths confirmed as total number of Covid-19 cases in Ireland nears 10,000

Medic warns that ‘second wave’ could hit State if restrictions relaxed too soon

A further 14 people have died of the coronavirus in Ireland and 727 new cases have been confirmed, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has said.

A total of 334 people have now died in the State after contracting Covid-19, figures released on Sunday evening state, and a total of 9,655 cases have been diagnosed since the pandemic began.

NPHET said 12 of the 14 deaths took place in the east of the country, with two in the west. The deceased were six women and eight men, with the median age of Sunday’s reported deaths being 80.

Ten of the 14 were reported as having underlying health conditions.


As of 1pm on Sunday, the Health Protection Survelliance Centre (HPSC) had been notified of an additional 430 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported by Irish laboratories and an additional 297 confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported by a laboratory in Germany.

The HSE is working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

Meanwhile, data from the HPSC, as of midnight, Friday April 10th, revealed that 45 per cent of cases were male and 54 per cent female, with 383 clusters involving 1,653 cases. A cluster is three or more cases in an institution within a 72-hour period.

The median age of confirmed cases is 48 years, with 1,777 cases (21 per cent) having been hospitalised. Of those hospitalised, 261 cases have been admitted to ICU. A total of 2,312 cases are associated with healthcare workers.

Dublin has the highest number of cases at 4,514 (53 per cent of all cases) followed by Cork with 648 cases (8 per cent). Of those for whom transmission status is known community transmission accounts for 66 per cent, close contact accounts for 26 per cent, travel abroad accounts for 7 per cent.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland 11 more people have died from coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths to 118. An additional 89 cases of coronavirus were confirmed taking the total number to 1,806 on Sunday.

Earlier, Prof Philip Nolan, president of Maynooth University and chairman of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG), warned the State could be exposed to a “second wave” of Covid-19 cases if the current restrictions on movement are relaxed too soon or in an ill-considered way.

He said said management of the virus seemed to be “relatively stable”and there was “a sense” following weeks of restrictions that the “disease is under control”.

However, Prof Nolan strongly qualified his remarks saying “there could be a rapid re-emergence of the disease, maybe a new peak” and the authorities needed to think very carefully about what they do when the latest period of movement restrictions comes to an end on May 5th.

“If it is confirmed in the coming weeks that the very strong measures currently in place have controlled the disease... then it is reasonable to think about changing the behaviours and regulations,” he told RTÉ’s This Week programme.

“There is a real danger at that point that if we don’t do it very, very carefully that we will get a second wave of disease…What we do after May 5th is critical to determining whether we are past a peak or facing into a new and dangerous peak”.


Dr Cillian de Gascun, a consultant virologist and director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL), said the State’s coronavirus testing capacity should “probably” rise to 15,000 in the next two weeks.

He told Newstalk that he expected 5,000 to 7,000 people would be tested for coronavirus each day this coming week.

The Government’s goal is to dramatically increase its testing to 15,000 or so a day and to provide results within 48 hours. Health authorities have been attempting to clear a backlog of tests and Minister for Health Simon Harris on Saturday said he hoped this could be achieved by the end of next week.

“This week we’re expecting to (carry out) between 5,000 to 7,000 a day and then the 15,000 will probably be the second half of (the following) week at best, assuming everything goes according to plan,” Dr de Gascun said.

“We are still expecting new equipment to come on stream and that hasn’t arrived yet so there’s still a number of steps that we’re expecting but certainly our capacity has increased dramatically.”

Dr de Gascun said that when Ireland is able to carry out 15,000 tests a day, it “will aspire” to have tests results back within 24 or 36 hours.

“That will happen because the structure is now in place to allow that to happen,” he added. “People will think that this is sort of me making excuses, I’m trying to just explain what happened, we have had to set up a brand new pathway for this testing process...”

Dark days

Dr Tom Ryan, an intensive care specialist at James' Street Hospital in Dublin, said he agreed with the view expressed by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in his Easter message that there may yet be "dark days ahead" before the pandemic ends.

He said the numbers admitted to ICU “show we are not getting a surge, more a slow and steady build up” among all ages and a broad mix of patients.

“I suspect the surge hasn’t happened because the population at large has...stayed at home and behaved themselves,” Dr Ryan told RTÉ.

He said the hospital was aware of what happened in Italy and had expanded its ICU capacity and had got more ventilators and more monitors.

In response to reports that hospital ICU facilities were not keen to accept patients from nursing homes, Dr Ryan said most doctors were reluctant to refer nursing home patients to ICU. He said the ICU teams were also reluctant to take “futile” cases and this had been the ethos of medical teams for 20 to 25 years. - Additional reporting: PA

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist