Ireland has recorded no COVID-19 deaths for the first time since March.
The country’s leader, Leo Varadkar, said it was a “day of hope” as only 59 new coronavirus cases were detected and the death toll remained at 1,606.
“Significant milestone today,” he tweeted.
Image: Leo Varadkar said it was a ‘significant milestone’
“First day with no reported #CoVid19 deaths since March 21st. This is a day of hope. We will prevail.”
Dr Tony Holohan, Ireland’s chief medical officer, said figures over the past week indicated “we have suppressed COVID-19 as a country”.
He added: “It has taken strict measures to achieve this.
“It will take another week to see any effect on disease incidence that might arise from the easing of measures in Phase 1.”
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Workers such as hairdressers and restaurant owners have urged the two-metre rule be halved so they can reopen quicker.
Dr Holohan said he sympathised and the rules were always under review, but that for now the distancing guidelines would not change.
Ireland’s first stage in easing lockdown started last week.
Image: Many construction workers in Ireland went back to work last week
Measures included reopening businesses such as garden centres, hardware stores, opticians, phone shops and some construction firms.
Outdoor meetings were also permitted again between people from different households.
The second of five phases, starting 8 June, will allow visits to households and see the reopening of libraries and small shops which can properly social distance.
The final phase is set to begin on 10 August.
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Dr Holohan said small clusters of cases could occur as restrictions are eased but that the country would be prepared.
“One of the things that’s going to happen as we ease restrictions and increase the amount of economic activity … we are going to see more clusters of this,” he said.
“This is a highly transmissible virus. The fact that more cases might occur isn’t necessarily a sign that we haven’t succeeded in terms of applying our measures.
“I think we’d be much better position to deal with that than we might have been in February had that occurred in that way.”
Source : Sky News