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Coronavirus Ireland Live Updates: 27 more people have died and a further 156 have tested positive for Covid-19

  • 27 more deaths linked to Covid-19 have been announced
  • There have now been 1,429 coronavirus related deaths in Ireland
  • 156 further cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 22,541
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    Medical staff wearing protective clothing and an official acting as a patient conduct a demonstration of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test for the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)

    Medical staff wearing protective clothing and an official acting as a patient conduct a demonstration of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test for the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)

    Medical staff wearing protective clothing and an official acting as a patient conduct a demonstration of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test for the COVID-19 coronavirus. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)

    Follow the latest coronavirus news in Ireland and across the world on the Independent.ie live blog.

    20:00 08/05/2020

    State to guarantee refunds for holiday-makers as ministers approve support for travel agents

    Reports Cormac McQuinn, Political Correspondent

    The government has approved proposals to support coronavirus-hit travel agents.

    Transport, Tourism and Sport Minister Shane Ross brought the plans to protect the travel trade industry to Cabinet.

    The help is to come as a State guarantee in the form of a refund credit note for package holidays booked though Irish-registered travel agents and tour operations.

    The notes can be offered by the travel industry to customers in circumstances where they are not able to provide a cash refund or a full cash refund.

    The credit not can be to the value of the full refund or partial refund alongside cash.


    18:00 08/05/2020

    27 more people have died and a further have tested positive for Covid-19

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    Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, pictured this evening at a Covid19 update press conference. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

    Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, pictured this evening at a Covid19 update press conference. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

    Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, pictured this evening at a Covid19 update press conference. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

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    The Department of Health has been notified of 27 further deaths linked to Covid-19, and 156 additional confirmed cases.

    There are now 22, 541 cases of coronavirus in Ireland.

    Ireland's death toll now stands at 1,429.

    Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, as of midnight, Wednesday, 6 May (22,301 cases), reveals:

    • 57 pc are female and 43 pc are male
    • the median age of confirmed cases is 49 years
    • 2,915 cases (13 pc) have been hospitalised
    • Of those hospitalised, 373 cases have been admitted to ICU
    • 6,586 cases are associated with healthcare workers
    • Dublin has the highest number of cases at 10,885 (49 pc of all cases) followed by Kildare with 1,312 cases (6 pc) and then Cork with 1,199 cases (5 pc)
    • Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 61 pc, close contact accounts for 35 pc, travel abroad accounts for 3 pc


    17:20 08/05/2020

    Labour criticises use of predictive grading as Leaving Cert is cancelled

    Reports Cormac McQuinn, Political Correspondent

    The Labour Party has hit out at the use of predictive grading to assess Leaving Cert students due to the postponement of this year's State examinations amid the coronavirus crisis.

    Its education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has said the move to calculated grades with the input of teachers and national standardisation will be open to legal challenge.

    And he raised serious concerns if what he termed "appalling suggestion of school profiling" is to play a part in determining results.

    Education Minister Joe McHugh announced today that this summer's exams have been cancelled.

    Students will have the option of accepting a predicted grade or sitting the Leaving Cert at a later date.

    Mr Ó Ríordáin said the move could result in legal challenges.

    He said it's "clearly open to legal opinion as to whether this Leaving Certificate with a different grade system would actually have the same status as the Leaving Cert 2019."

    15:35 08/05/2020

    US jobless rate soars to 14.7%

    The US unemployment rate hit 14.7% in April, the highest since the Great Depression, as 20.5 million jobs vanished in the worst monthly loss on record.

    The figures are stark evidence of the damage coronavirus has done to a now-shattered economy.

    The losses reflect what has become a severe recession caused by sudden business shutdowns in nearly every industry.

    Nearly all the job growth achieved during the 11-year recovery from the Great Recession has now been lost in one month.

    14.46 08/05/2020

    Ryanair calls on Taoiseach to take action to stop Dublin Airport 'profiteering' from crisis

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    Stock photo: Ryanair

    Stock photo: Ryanair

    Stock photo: Ryanair

    Low cost airline Ryanair has called on the Taoiseach to take action and reverse "unjustified 'parking' charges" which are imposed on aircraft grounded at Dublin airport by government travel bans.

    In a statement, the airline said that while it "fully supports" travel bans, Dublin Airport should not profit from the crisis "at the expense of customer airlines grounded by Government travel bans"

    It called for the charges, deemed "excessive fees" to be waived by Dublin Airport.

    Ryanair DAC CEO, Eddie Wilson, said: “It is wrong that state-owned Dublin Airport should be allowed profiteer from customers whose aircraft have been grounded by Government travel bans. We call on the Irish Government to ensure that these charges are cancelled for all airlines.”

    14.41 08/05/2020

    Students who wish to complete traditional Leaving Cert exams will still have the opportunity according to alternative plans

    Reports Education Editor Katherine Donnelly

    Sweeping changes to this year’s Leaving Cert will allow students the option of being assessed through a system of calculated grades instead of exams.

    However, candidates who want to sit the traditional exams – and they have a legal right to do so - will also be facilitated at a later date.

    That special sitting of the Leaving Cert will take place when it is considered safe to hold the exams, but it won’t be time for college entry this year.

    The exams scheduled for late July/August are definitely off and there will be no Leaving Cert fee for this year

    That means that CAO applicants will be relying on predictive grades as a basis for selection for a college place..

    Arriving at calculated grades, also known as predictive grades, will be a four part process, involving both school-based and national standardisation.

    WATCH: Leaving Cert cancelled as Minister reveals alternative plans

    Education Minister officially cancels Leaving Cert 2020

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    Education Minster Joe McHugh (PA)

    Education Minster Joe McHugh (PA)

    Education Minster Joe McHugh (PA)

    Education Minister Joe McHugh has officially cancelled Leaving Cert exams, which were due to take place this June.

    Speaking at Government buildings this afternoon, he said that the decision was made with a "heavy heart".

    "The interest of students must come first," he said.

    The exams have now been postponed to a later date, while students can opt to receive predicted calculated grades in the meantime.

    These will be provided by teachers and signed off by schools, after approval by the principal.

    This is Plan C, according to the minister.

    "There is no simple solution to this issue," he said, as the State Examinations Commission cannot be involved in the process.

    A special unit within the education department will be set up to deal with the 2020 Leaving Cert exams.

    Students will be able to appeal grades.

    "Some students adjusting better than others to the new normal," added the minister.

    "I am disappointed that we have been unable to run things as in previous years."

    14.02 08/05/2020

    Harris says he treats all protected disclosures with the 'utmost seriousness' but can't confirm probe into St Mary's

    HEALTH Minister Simon Harris has said he treats any protected disclosures with the "utmost seriousness" and said it's very important that people come forward with any concerns they have.

    His remarks come after Independent.ie revealed that a whistleblower in a HSE nursing home where 24 patients have died from Covid-19 has alleged that strong enough efforts were not made to prevent fatalities.

    The staff member at St Mary's nursing home in Dublin's Phoenix Park made a protected disclosure to Mr Harris and HSE chief executive Paul Reid on Wednesday.

    Mr Harris this morning said that legally he is not allowed to confirm receipt of a protected disclosure.

    12.42 08/05/2020

    No ‘realistic prospect’ of pubs reopening in June, says CMO

    There is no “realistic prospect” of pubs reopening in June, according to Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Tony Holohan.

    Speaking on RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke show this morning, Dr Holohan responded to calls being made by pub representative groups, calling for bars to open in June with strict social distancing guidelines.

    Currently, under the government’s roadmap to reopening the country, pubs are scheduled to reopen during the last phase on August 10.

    “The pubs came to us in March and said we understand your public health advice and we don’t think we can implement it in pubs and that was the reason they were asked to close on that occasion.

    WATCH: Harris defends coronavirus response in nursing homes as 23 deaths reported in one facility

    Dealgan House nursing home in county Louth confirmed that 23 deaths have taken place there since April 1, with many of these linked to the virus.

    Concerns about the home - which has been taken over by a HSE hospital group - were raised in the Dáil yesterday where Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú said he had heard the deaths could have been as high as 26.

    Mr Ó Murchú also said that staff at the home have been told that workers from the RCSI Hospital Group will no longer be present in Dealgan House by the weekend.

    Unemployment rate jumps to 28pc as more than half of young workers lose jobs

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    Under the temporary wage subsidy scheme, an eligible employer will be supported by up to 70pc of an employee's take-home income, up to a maximum weekly tax-free payment of €410 (ie 70pc of take-home weekly income of €38,000 per annum).

    Under the temporary wage subsidy scheme, an eligible employer will be supported by up to 70pc of an employee's take-home income, up to a maximum weekly tax-free payment of €410 (ie 70pc of take-home weekly income of €38,000 per annum).

    Under the temporary wage subsidy scheme, an eligible employer will be supported by up to 70pc of an employee's take-home income, up to a maximum weekly tax-free payment of €410 (ie 70pc of take-home weekly income of €38,000 per annum).

    The unemployment rate for April has jumped to 28.2pc, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office.

    The figures which highlight the impact of the Covid-19 containment measures, shows that unemployment has almost doubled in April to 694,683 workers as a result of the economic lockdown.

    Almost one in three people are now out of work, including more than half of younger workers.

    Men (30pc) are more likely to have lost their job than women (26.1pc). However, age is the real fault line in the current jobs crisis.

    11.21 08/05/2020

    Over 150 GoFundMe campaigns started this week in aid of Pieta House

    Over 150 online fundraisers have been set up in aid of suicide prevention charity Pieta House this week.

    Online fundraiser platform GoFundMe is reporting a "huge increase" in campaigns set up to fundraise for the charity, which like many others, has been affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

    Its annual fundraiser Darkness Into Light was cancelled and, which resulted in the loss of €5m for the charity.

    Over 150 GoFundMe campaigns have been set up since the start of May raising almost €200k to date.

    10.57 08/05/2020

    National Ploughing Championships cancelled in 'interest of public safety'

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    Anna Marie McHugh, one of the Ploughing organisers

    Anna Marie McHugh, one of the Ploughing organisers

    Anna Marie McHugh, one of the Ploughing organisers

    It has been confirmed that the National Ploughing Championships which take place each year in September has been cancelled.With all mass gatherings of over 5,000 banned until the end of August, there had been huge doubt cast on the event taking place.

    Over three days each September, the Ploughing Championships attracts 300,000 people from all over the world to view its exhibits and trade show.

    However, assistant managing director of the event Anna Marie McHugh said that following a meeting of the NPA executive yesterday afternoon a decision was made to cancel this year's event due to take place in Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co Carlow.

    "It's a tough day for us, but everybody's conclusion was the same. In the interest of public safety, running just wasn't an option," she told RTE radio this morning.

    "The Association could never live with the risk that we could have brought a second wave of the virus into Carlow. That's not something we would have wanted to be responsible for," she added.

    Aer lingus waives change fees for all travel to September 30

    Aer Lingus will waive change fees for all flights scheduled to depart up to September 30, the airline has said.

    Previously, it had waived such fees to the end of May.

    Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the change reflects the fact that schedule disruption and unease about travel is likely to continue through the summer.

    "We want you to be able to book with peace of mind," Aer Lingus says.

    Changing a flight normally costs €40.

    10.01 08/05/2020

    'Stringent rationing of PPE led to infections' - St Mary's whistleblower

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    St. Mary's Hospital, Phoenix Park. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

    St. Mary's Hospital, Phoenix Park. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

    St. Mary's Hospital, Phoenix Park. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

    A whistleblower in a HSE nursing home where 24 patients have died from Covid-19 has alleged strong enough efforts were not made to prevent fatalities.

    The staff member, who works in St Mary's nursing home in the Phoenix Park in Dublin, has claimed concerns about the welfare of residents were not listened to.

    She said she first highlighted concerns with senior management in early March.

    In relation to personal protective equipment (PPE), she alleges there was "stringent rationing", and staff became infected.

    Centurion: No Croker bash but Rita Rafter still plans to raise the roof for 100th birthday

    Her 100th birthday bash at Croke Park may have been put on hold, but great-grandmother Rita Rafter is still planning to raise the roof.

    Born on May 8, 1920, Rita has lived on the North Circular Road for 100 years and is considered a legend around the streets of the north inner city.

    She made headlines in 2017 when she faced having to move out of her home as she could not afford repairs that needed to be carried out to the roof.

    However, following a social media appeal, a kind-hearted builder offered to fix the roof for free.

    08.07 08/05/2020

    Pandemic unleashing a tsunami of hate, says UN chief

    The coronavirus pandemic keeps unleashing "a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering", UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said.

    He appealed on Friday for "an all-out effort to end hate speech globally".

    Mr Guterres said "anti-foreigner sentiment has surged online and in the streets, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have spread, and Covid-19-related anti-Muslim attacks have occurred".

    He said migrants and refugees "have been vilified as a source of the virus and then denied access to medical treatment".

    New cases reported in China and South Korea as lockdown measures ease worldwide

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    Brian Waldret, co-owner of Hello Salon in Arizona, in the US, disinfects surfaces (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

    Brian Waldret, co-owner of Hello Salon in Arizona, in the US, disinfects surfaces (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

    Brian Waldret, co-owner of Hello Salon in Arizona, in the US, disinfects surfaces (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

    China and South Korea both reported more coronavirus infections Friday after reopening economies damaged by devastating outbreaks.

    Governments around the world are opting to accept the risks of easing pandemic-fighting restrictions, that left huge numbers of people without income or safety nets.

    In the US, some governors are disregarding or creatively interpreting White House guidelines in easing their states' lockdowns and letting businesses reopen.

    An Associated Press analysis found 17 states appeared to have not met one of the key benchmarks set by the White House for loosening up - a 14-day downward trajectory in new cases or positive test rates.

    07.15 08/05/2020

    EU finance ministers resume talks on virus crisis fallout and fixes

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    A man wearing a protective face mask and glove drinks a coffee, as Italy begins a staged end to its nationwide lockdown. Photo: REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

    A man wearing a protective face mask and glove drinks a coffee, as Italy begins a staged end to its nationwide lockdown. Photo: REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

    A man wearing a protective face mask and glove drinks a coffee, as Italy begins a staged end to its nationwide lockdown. Photo: REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

    Today EU finance ministers resume video discussions on how to tackle the coronavirus economic carnage which threatens everyone in Ireland.

    It's time to assess how much Brussels can really do to help.

    How bad is it all?

    It gets worse every day. On Wednesday, the EU's policy-guiding commission said coronavirus would mean the bloc's economy would shrink by 7.7pc this year with Ireland just about on that appalling average, with 7.5pc. Yesterday opened with the ECB suggesting the contraction could be as bad as 12pc. Let's remember that as recently as the end of February all talk was about economic growth. Remember also that economic growth is what creates and sustains jobs and prosperity.

    Renewed hope we can ease the lockdown as new coronavirus cases lowest in weeks

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    Richard Madeley helping load up food to deliver to people with dementia (PA)

    Richard Madeley helping load up food to deliver to people with dementia (PA)

    Richard Madeley helping load up food to deliver to people with dementia (PA)

    New daily cases of coronavirus are at their lowest level in weeks - offering some degree of optimism that Ireland is on course to begin easing its lockdown.

    Just 137 people were diagnosed with the virus yesterday, while the number of patients in intensive care dropped to 76. It had reached 140 at one point.

    And fewer than two cases are being admitted to hospital daily, down from four to six last week, according to Professor Philip Nolan of Maynooth University, who is advising the Government on trends.

    He also revealed the R number - which indicates how many people a person with the virus is likely to infect - had fallen to 0.5 to 0.6, down from the 5 or 6 in late February or early March. By mid-March, it was around 1.6.

    "There has been great success up to now and we need to find ways to keep the spread of the virus at a very low level for many weeks to come," he said.

    Students will have to opt in to sit Leaving Cert papers

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    (stock photo)

    (stock photo)

    (stock photo)

    Sweeping changes to this year's Leaving Cert will allow for predictive grades, while students will need to opt in to sit the exams.

    The 61,000 students will have to choose and, in the first instance, will be asked whether they want to be assessed via predictive grades, which would be based on their performance in school.

    But it is understood that candidates who want to sit the traditional exams - and they have a legal right to do so - will be facilitated.

    A student survey conducted last weekend showed that 79pc of sixth years now support the option of predictive grades, suggesting that a significant majority would take this route.


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