Health officials confirmed 200 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the total number of infections to 27,191. No new deaths were reported. The death toll stands at 1,774.
“We now have multiple clusters with secondary spread of disease and rising numbers of cases in many parts of the country,” Dr. Ronan Glynn, acting chief medical officer, said in a statement. “This is deeply concerning.”
Most infections were reported in just two counties, with 81 in Kildare and 56 in neighboring Dublin.
Tourists wearing face masks walk past a closed pub in Dublin city center on March 16. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)
Health officials have so far been able to trace 68 of the new cases to outbreaks or close contacts of a confirmed case. They identified 25 cases as community transmission.
Glynn said health officials would monitor the situation “extremely closely” and urged citizens, especially those over 70 or with underlying health conditions, to limit their contacts and keep socially distant.
"This virus is still out there and has not gone away,” he said. “COVID-19 seeks to capitalize on complacency and is just waiting for the opportunity to spread.”
Ireland has been among the slower members of the European Union to restart its economy, twice postponing a move to its final phase of reopening, Reuters reported. Nightclubs and pubs that do not serve food have remained closed throughout the country.