A further 53 cases were reported in the State, with no further deaths, NPHET confirmed on Monday evening.

This brings the total number of cases to 28,811, while the total number of deaths remains at 1,777.

In Northern Ireland, 58 new cases were reported by authorities and no further deaths.

Earlier, Taoiseach confirmed a decision had been taken to lift local lockdown measures in Co Kildare.

Localised lockdown measures were announced for Counties Kildare, Laois and Offaly on August 7th. Laois and Offaly emerged from lockdown on August 21st but strict restrictions remained in place in Kildare.

Explaining the rationale for the Government’s decision to lift regional restrictions applying in Co Kildare, Dr Glynn said it was no longer proportionate to keep the measures in place given current trends.

The number of new cases in the county has falled from 238 in the first week of August to 75 last week, with its share of all cases nationally dropping from almost half to 10 per cent over this period

The incidence of the disease in Kildare is still above the national average but the trajectory is moving in the right direction, he said.

The willingness of people in the county to “buy into” the measures had protected them and their families, according to Dr Glynn.

Imposing the restrictions on meat plants in Kildare with outbreaks, instead of on the whole county, would not have worked, he said. Kildare had suffered a “dual peak” of clusters, first in meat plants and then in households.

Family members of a child with suspected symptoms have to self-isolate while the child is awaiting a test, public health officials have advised.

However, it may take up to 72 hours for the test results to arrive, they said.

GP Dr Sumi Dunne urged parents not to send their children to school when they are unwell “outside of a blocked/runny nose” and not to dose them with paracetamol.

“Keep them at home, restrict your movements and make contact with your GP,” she told a National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) briefing on Monday.

“Until the child’s symptoms have resolved, both the child and the carer have to stay until they are fit to go back to school.”

The requirement to restrict one’s movements applies to all close contacts of the child – in effect, other family members – she clarified.

While the case numbers on Sunday and Monday have been low relative to recent weeks, Dr Glynn said it was too early to read anything into the trend.

“This could go either way at this point but we are heartened by the apparent stabilisation in numbers in recent days.”

On face-coverings, he said too many people were wearing them “under the chin or with their nose exposed”. This did not provide protection and could increase risk.

Face visors were acceptable but were “not as good” as face-coverings, he advised.

Of the new cases across the State, 28 were men and 25 women. Three out of every four were in people aged under 45 years.

Some 27 of the 53 cases were associated with outbreaks or were close contacts of confirmed cases, while 14 cases involved community transmission.

Dublin accounted for 25 of the cases, Limerick for 11, while the remaining 17 were located in Kildare, Longford, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Laois, Meath, Roscommon, Tipperary and Westmeath.

There are 35 patients in hospital at present including six in intensive care.

Nphet also reported 22 new cases in the Roma community, six in direct provision and two among the homeless.

Referring to Kildare, Mr Martin tweeted at 4.18pm on Monday: “Today’s decision to lift the additional Covid restrictions on County Kildare was only possible because of the people of Kildare – their extra effort, their sacrifices and their patience.

“And it worked. Numbers in Kildare are now similar to rest of country. We must all stay vigilant.”

Business and political leaders in the county were told of the decision earlier on Monday.

A Government statement confirmed the Kildare lockdown “will be lifted with immediate effect” and public health measures in the county will be aligned with those introduced nationally on August 18th.

NPHET met earlier and reviewed the epidemiological situation in Kildare, confirming that it continues to improve and is now broadly similar to that across the country.

“As the epidemiological situation both nationally and in Kildare are broadly similar, there is no longer a rationale for a differentiated approach between Kildare and the rest of the country,” the statement added.

Kildare Chamber of Commerce chief executive Allan Shine said earlier he had been told today by Government that the measures would be lifted this evening.

Meanwhile, senior health sources confirmed that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) had decided to recommend lifting the measures, and the matter was discussed by an incorporeal Cabinet meeting today.

“The news of the lifting of the lockdown will be very welcome to business community in Kildare; cashflow remains a concern for those in the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors,” Mr Shine said.

“The conversation must start now about how we live with Covid and work alongside Covid until a vaccine is found,” he said, adding that a promised Government plan on living beside Covid should be launched immediately “because business can’t live with any more restrictions”.

Government backbencher James Lawless, Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North, welcomed the development, saying it was a “relief and reward for the people of Kildare”.

“Two weeks ago we had incidence rates here that were among the highest in Europe. Now that has been suppressed and we have stopped the virus. It is a huge relief to the people of Kildare who have lived through three lockdowns in rapid succession and made huge sacrifices, both personally and commercially,” he said.

Earlier, a Kildare county councillor claimed he had received confirmation that the county lockdown aimed at combatting a spike in cases would be lifted on Monday night.

Robert Power, who represents Fianna Fáil in Naas, posted on Facebook on Monday afternoon: “I’ve just had confirmation that Government has decided to lift additional restriction measures on Kildare.

“We’re not out of the woods yet and our numbers remain high but thanks to the extra sacrifices made by the people of Kildare, what could have been a very substantial wave of fatalities has been curtailed.

“This is great news in a week where thousands of excited children finally get to return to some sort of normality. Let’s keep our efforts up for them!”

Family of children with Covid-like symptoms must self-isolate ahead of test results

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