Sharp fall in Irish COVID-19 cases has likely ended - official

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a mural on a wall as the government announced they were moving the country to its highest level of restrictions, Level 5, for six weeks as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Galway, Ireland, October 20, 2020. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

DUBLIN (Reuters) - A sharp fall in COVID-19 cases in Ireland is likely to stall following the ending on Dec. 1 of six weeks of strict lockdown, a senior health official said on Thursday.

"I wouldn't expect case counts to decline any further in the coming week or 10 days," Philip Nolan, Chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group told journalists after reporting a seven-day daily new case average of 254, down from almost 1,200 six weeks ago.

Ireland’s COVID-19 reproduction number, which measures the number of people who become infected from each positive case, is currently between 0.8 and 1, but is likely to rise over the Christmas period as social contacts increase, Nolan said.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries, Editing by Franklin Paul)

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