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Coronavirus live news: Greece orders new three-week national lockdown as Covid cases rise

Ireland has started to suppress Covid-19 and has one of Europe’s lowest disease incidence rates after two weeks of maximum tier restrictions.

The R number, which indicates the number of people on average an infected person will infect, is now 0.7 and 0.9. To suppress the virus it must be below 1.

The cumulative 14-day incidence rate has fallen to 212.7 per 100,000 people, a 30% reduction. It gives Ireland the seventh lowest rate of 31 European countries, above Finland, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Greece.

Authorities on Wednesday reported eight coronavirus-related deaths and 444 new cases, bringing the death toll since the pandemic began to 1,930. The total number of cases is 63,483.

Health officials attribute the improving numbers to moderate restrictions imposed on Dublin city and county on 18 September, followed by nationwide severe restrictions on 21 October.

They are due to end on 2 December, by which time authorities hope the daily case numbers will be between 50 and 100. There have been a handful of small, fleeting protests.

Rates in Northern Ireland have also fallen but health officials have advised the Stormont executive to extend restrictions on the hospitality sector which are due to end on Friday.