Ireland recorded 1,012 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the highest single day increase since April 15 when 1,068 cases were recorded, according to state broadcaster RTÉ on Sunday.
Writing in the Sunday Independent newspaper, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar — known as the Tánaiste — said that “a short hard lockdown” may be required to get the case numbers under control again.
Irish Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said in a tweet Saturday that he was “very worried” about the surge in cases and the “deteriorating” situation in the country.
Rising incidence rate: Holohan also pointed toward a 39% increase in the 14-day incidence rate over the course of the week, saying cases had increased from 108 per 100,000 inhabitants to 150 per 100,000 people. Holohan said that “case numbers are growing across all age groups and throughout the country."
Alert Level 3: The Irish government moved the entire country to national alert Level 3 on Monday after initially placing restrictions just on the capital Dublin and northern county of Donegal.
Under Level 3, indoor dining at cafes, restaurants and pubs is prohibited, indoor gatherings are confined to six people from one other household and museums, galleries and cultural attractions are closed.
Last Sunday, Ireland’s science and medical advisory body, the National Public Health Emergency Team, made a recommendation to move the country to Level 5 instead of Level 3. The recommendation was leaked to the Irish media before being addressed by the government.
Backtrack: Varadkar said in a television interview Monday that the government didn’t think the proposal “had been thought through properly.” He backtracked in the Sunday Independent, saying while heartbreaking, a short circuit breaker lockdown may be necessary to “knock the virus on the head again.”