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Ireland May Have To Return To Phase Two If COVID-19 Cases Rise

"If we can stamp it out in the community, that's how we can protect everybody."

Ireland may need to return to Phase Two of the government roadmap if cases of COVID-19 continue to surge to above 100 per day, an expert has warned.

Dr Cillian De Gascun, Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, said should cases arise, a step back to Phase Two will be needed. 

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sarah McInerney, Dr De Gascun said we "would be looking at perhaps taking a step backwards into Phase Two" of restrictions.

"If there's widespread community transmission of the virus, then it will get into schools, into residential care facilities, and into nursing homes - but if we can stamp it out in the community, that's how we protect everybody," he said.

He stressed that people's behaviours today can have an effect on what happens in two or three weeks' time.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has also expressed concern at the number of outbreaks of COVID-19 in workplace settings.

Speaking at the Department of Health press conference on Monday, Dr Glynn said: "We are now seeing outbreaks of the virus in a range of work settings, including in construction, in fast food outlets and in supermarkets.

"We can't underestimate how quickly clusters develop. We have come so far together, but we need to stay vigilant to prevent a resurgence across the whole country in the coming weeks."

His comments come after a building site in Dublin city centre was closed down temporarily after a number of workers tested positive for COVID-19.

The advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to tourists continues to be to avoid coming to the country.

Dr De Gascun said that Ireland had controlled the first wave already and had a "good handle" on where current infections were occurring.

Phase Two of the reopening of Ireland involved staying within your county or within 20km of your home if you were travelling across county borders. Organised outdoor activities including sport and exercise were limited to 15 people or less.

Gatherings of six people were allowed to be held within a home and public transport was severely limited.

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