July 23, 2020 / 5:05 PM / 11 days ago

Irish coronavirus reproduction rate, average cases fall slightly

FILE PHOTO: Fidelma Gleeson watches a bag lower from a drone home delivery of essential household and medical supplies in the village of Moneygall, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ireland, May 8, 2020. Picture taken May 8, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The average number of people in Ireland infected by someone who has tested positive for the new coronavirus fell to 1.0 to 1.4 after it rose above 1 for the first time last week, senior health officials said on Thursday.

The so-called “reproduction rate” rose to 1.2 to 1.8 a week ago, forcing the government to delay entering the final phase of its reopening plan. A rate above 1 signals that the number of cases are increasing exponentially again.

As of Wednesday, the average number of cases per day over the preceding five days fell to 18 versus a four-week high of 19 last week. A further seven new cases were reported on Thursday.

(The story corrects number of new cases on Thursday to 7 from 9.)

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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