The Republic is “tantalisingly close” to eliminating the coronavirus in the community, according to a leading immunology expert.

It comes ahead of key decisions in the reopening of the Irish economy.

The country is just weeks away from reopening schools, while pubs are due to open their doors on August 10th.

Professor Luke O’Neill, an immunologist from Trinity College, says people still need to be vigilant:


“We’re almost there. It’s tantalisingly close in that we’re going to nearly get elimination in Ireland, and it is the big question of the all-Ireland policy, the travel is the big bugbear isn’t it, let’s face it, because we’re pretty close to this now.

The next issue is going to be the dreaded pubs again isn’t it, on August the 10th, so what do we do then.

But we’re very close to being in a much better place than we’ve been so in some other ways we can be somewhat optimistic, but again, it’s vigilance, and everybody has to keep doing the same thing, it’s like a mantra at this stage isn’t it.”

His comments come as the World Health Organisation says the Covid-19 pandemic is easily the worst global health emergency it has ever faced.

Cases worldwide have now reached over 16 million with over 4 million in the United States alone and 2 million in Brazil.

This comes as the United Kingdom has taken Spain off its list of safe countries to travel to, due to a rise in cases there.

Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, says the pandemic continues to accelerate.

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