Ireland has 'flattened curve' of coronavirus spread: chief medical officer
Irish Police (Garda) stop and check vehicles at the border crossing at Carrkcarnon, County Louth, Ireland. AFP
Ireland has successfully "flattened the curve" of coronavirus transmission and no longer expects a peak in infections, chief medical officer Tony Holohan said.
"We think we've flattened that [...] curve so much that there is no peak," he said on RTE's Late Late show on Friday. "We think we can go along at a low level and reduce it even further."
He said nationwide adherence to a lockdown -- imposed until 5 May -- had "already saved hundreds of lives and admissions to intensive care".
There have been 530 COVID-19 related deaths and 13,980 confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland according to department of health figures released Friday. Ireland, like many other countries, had been bracing for a surge in cases, where transmission would peak and hospitals become overrun with patients.
But Holohan said analysis shows the reproductive rate of the virus -- the number of people a confirmed case typically spreads to -- is now below one. "That means that on average a person who's infected is passing it down to less than one person," he said. "If you continue on that path, the rate of infection in the population will continue to drop."
Concerns remain over the high number of cases and mortality in residential care homes across the republic. Around 60 percent of those who die from the virus come from long term residential care homes, Ireland's Health Service Executive reported Friday.