Health (General Practitioner Service and Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill 2020: Order for Second Stage

Bill entitled an Act to amend the Health Act 1970 to alter the criteria in relation to eligibility for services under that Act; to provide, incrementally, for the making available of a general practitioner medical and surgical service to persons who are ordinarily resident in the State and who have not attained the age of thirteen years; to provide for other miscellaneous amendments to that Act; and to provide for related matters.

The next item is the Health (General Practitioner Service and Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill 2020, all Stages. I call the Minister for Health, Deputy Donnelly, to move the Order for Second Stage.

Before I move the Order for Second Stage, with the permission of the Acting Chairman, Deputy Durkan, I would like to give an update on where we are in terms of Covid. There is some good news. On the one hand, the number of cases per week has been rising, which is something we have all been watching. In the past four weeks, the number of cases went from 61 cases in a week to 93 cases, to 124 cases and last week we hit 143 cases. At the same time, the average number of close contacts is still high at more than five. However, I was informed today after the National Public Health Emergency Team, NPHET, meeting that the view is that, in the past ten days, things have stabilised, which is very welcome. The number of tests done in the past seven days is 51,000 and we have a very low positivity rate of 0.3, which suggests that the prevalence of the virus in the population is low. The five-day average of new cases is 18 per day and the reproduction number has fallen and is now somewhere between 1 and 1.4. That is some positive news that I know the House will be interested in.

I move: "That Second Stage be taken now."

Question put and agreed to.