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Ireland seeing "significant escalation" in COVID-19 cases

FILE PHOTO: A shuttered pub called Reilly's is seen closed due to Government restrictions around coronavirus, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Dublin, Ireland, September 3, 2020. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland is seeing a “significant escalation” in COVID-19 infections, the acting chief medical officer said on Saturday after reporting the highest number of daily cases since late April.

Like most of Europe, Ireland has seen a steady increase in infections since the end of July and has tightened restrictions as a result, including banning all indoor restaurant dining and most trips in and out of the capital, Dublin.

The 613 new cases was the highest daily total since Ireland was in a full lockdown. Ten more people died, bringing the total number of coronavirus- related deaths to 1,810. Eight of those deaths occurred prior to September, the health ministry said.

“The numbers being reported today and over the past week represent a significant escalation in the profile of COVID-19 in Ireland,” acting chief medical officer Ronan Glynn said in a statement.

Glynn urged people over the age of 70 and those who are medically vulnerable to COVID-19 to limit the number of people they meet to a very small core group of family members, carers or friends, and for short periods of time.

Ireland has reported just over 100 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days, the 16th-highest COVID-19 infection rate out of 31 European countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Control.

The British-run region of Northern Ireland, which shares an open border with Ireland, reported 726 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, having smashed its record daily total a day earlier to bring its seven-day cumulative case total to 164.7 per 100,000 people.

(This story corrects first paragraph to show cases the highest daily number since April, not third-highest to date)

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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