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Coronavirus Ireland Live Updates: Further nine deaths from Covid-19 as 37 more people test positive

  • The coronavirus death toll in Ireland has risen to 1,615 after nine further deaths were recorded
  • 37 new cases diagnosed today
  • There have been 24,735 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ireland

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Social distancing signs in St Stephens Green Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Social distancing signs in St Stephens Green Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Lydia Hassebroek waits to cross the street with her father during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Brooklyn, New York. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

Lydia Hassebroek waits to cross the street with her father during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Brooklyn, New York. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

REUTERS

Sailors from Holywood Yacht Club take to their Laser dinghies with wind in their sails on Belfast Lough after last week's decision by the Northern Ireland Executive to ease the lockdown. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Sailors from Holywood Yacht Club take to their Laser dinghies with wind in their sails on Belfast Lough after last week's decision by the Northern Ireland Executive to ease the lockdown. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

PA

A man wearing a face mask waits to walk over Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

A man wearing a face mask waits to walk over Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

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A man wearing a face mask amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus crosses a street on a bicycle in Tokyo. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

A man wearing a face mask amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus crosses a street on a bicycle in Tokyo. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

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Social distancing signs in St Stephens Green Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

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


23:00 26/05/2020

Changes loom to 'unsustainable' pandemic pay after next month

Anne-Marie Walsh

Emergency benefit schemes are set to be extended beyond next month, but changes are expected after a Government report found the income supports are unsustainable

More than 30,000 people have received their final pandemic payment as they head back to work.

The number receiving the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) fell again this week but there are still 579,400 receiving the payment.

The pandemic payment, and a separate scheme to subsidise wages, were introduced 12 weeks ago as thousands of workers lost their jobs due to a Government-ordered business shutdown.

A spokesperson for Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said there is an anomaly in relation to the pandemic payment and he is "examining the matter".

Full article here:


22:40 26/05/2020

Johnson faces Tory revolt over decision to stand by aide Cummings

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Job description: Dominic Cummings wants talented weirdos to apply for civil service jobs. Photo: Reuters

Job description: Dominic Cummings wants talented weirdos to apply for civil service jobs. Photo: Reuters

REUTERS

Job description: Dominic Cummings wants talented weirdos to apply for civil service jobs. Photo: Reuters

Boris Johnson has been hit with a ministerial resignation and faced mounting backbench anger over the actions of his senior adviser, Dominic Cummings.

Douglas Ross, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland, said on Tuesday that he was quitting after hearing Mr Cummings’ efforts to defend his trip from London to Durham despite the coronavirus lockdown.

The first resignation over the allegations rocking the Government came as Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove sought to defend his longstanding ally as having acted in an “entirely reasonable” way, and within the law.

But Mr Ross, the MP for Moray, said: “I have constituents who didn’t get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn’t visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the Government.

“I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the Government was right.”


22:20 26/05/2020

What happens now after LOI players complete first Covid-19 tests?

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Shamrock Rovers’ Jack Byrne was among the players yesterday to be tested for Covid-19 as part of the FAI’s pilot programme. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers’ Jack Byrne was among the players yesterday to be tested for Covid-19 as part of the FAI’s pilot programme. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Shamrock Rovers’ Jack Byrne was among the players yesterday to be tested for Covid-19 as part of the FAI’s pilot programme. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile


Daniel McDonnell

The players of Bohemians, Derry City, Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers were able to return to their workplace yesterday.

But it was only for a flying visit.

Squads and staff of the League of Ireland's four European representatives underwent Covid-19 testing as part of the FAI's pilot programme that is intended to pave the way for a return to play.

The other team sports will be monitoring developments with interest.

What's the plan now?


22:00 26/05/2020

The 'Japan model' has beaten coronavirus, says PM Abe, but reason for victory is unclear

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People wearing masks on the streets of Tokyo. Photos: AFP via Getty

People wearing masks on the streets of Tokyo. Photos: AFP via Getty

AFP via Getty Images

People wearing masks on the streets of Tokyo. Photos: AFP via Getty


Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, said yesterday that the "Japan model" has effectively beaten coronavirus, as he lifted a nationwide state of emergency after seven weeks.

He described how the "uniquely Japanese way" in which the country confronted the pandemic - unusually not including strict lockdown - had allowed it to escape the numerous outbreaks and high death tolls seen in several European countries and the US.

Japan has had about 17,000 confirmed cases and 850 deaths, but has not implemented widespread testing.

At a press conference yesterday, Mr Abe lifted the state of emergency in Tokyo, three surrounding prefectures and the northern island of Hokkaido, bringing those areas into line with other parts of Japan.


20:40 26/05/2020

Ulster University develops app to check for Covid-19 symptoms

Ulster University has developed an app to check for Covid-19 symptoms.

It also helps perform diagnostics and provides advice.

Data from the app can also be used to aid contact tracing and inform policy and decisionmakers in their overall recovery strategy, researchers said.

It can also read an antibody test result that is performed at home.

Professor Jim McLaughlin, head of the school of engineering at the university, said: “Building our XPrize Tricorder platform, this app can inform both the public and policymakers.

“It can help users to monitor their symptoms and seek medical advice when necessary, and it provides key data that policymakers can use to inform strategy.”

The app is available to download for open access development purposes and the academic team has presented it to local, national and international government bodies to demonstrate the new integrated concept of register, symptom check, diagnose and then contact track.


20:20 26/05/2020

31,000 students sign up for online registration of Leaving Cert for the new calculated grades process

Katherine Donnelly

The online registration of Leaving Cert candidates for the new calculated grades process got off to a busy start with 31,000 of 61,000 candidates signing up by 6pm.

The portal will remain open until 10pom on Thursday

All Leaving Cert and Leaving Cert Applied students are being asked to register, even if, ultimately, they decide that they don’t want to receive the calculated grades.

Importantly, signing up to provides an opportunity for candidates to confirm the level at which they want to be assessed in the subject.

Students can stick with the same level – higher, ordinary, foundation - at which they entered for the traditional exams or they can drop down a level.

While students generally stay at the level at which they originally entered, it is not unusual for candidates to drop down a level, in the run –up to, or on the day of the exams itself. This is particularly a feature in maths.

Teachers need confirmation of subject level information so they can provide an estimated mark/class ranking for students at the appropriate level.

Schools have contacting students about the registration process and, when they log, they will be asked for their exam number, public service number (PPS), which they will use to create a personal identification number (PIN) , email address and mobile phone number


20:00 26/05/2020

Medic who survived Covid-19 is antibody superdonor

A British paediatrician who nearly died from coronavirus has been identified as an antibody superdonor whose blood plasma can significantly boost other patients' chances of survival.

Dr Alessandro Giardini, who spent seven days on a ventilator after contracting the virus, has been found to have antibody levels 40 times higher than the normal convalescent patient.

The 46-year-old father of two is now leading the campaign for other recovered patients to donate their blood plasma.

His extraordinary antibody levels were discovered as part of an NHS trial to analyse the blood of more than 400 Covid-19 patients.

The results have enabled NHS Blood and Transplant to identify men over 35 who were ill enough to have needed hospital treatment as their prime candidates for donation.


20:00 26/05/2020

Consumer behaviour may 'fundamentally change' in wake of Covid-19 pandemic

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

The way in which consumers behave will "fundamentally change" after the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study.

According to the first edition of the EY Future Consumer Index, 42pc of respondents believe the way they shop will fundamentally change as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

When it comes to brands and products, 34pc of consumers indicated they would pay more for local products, 25pc for trusted brands and 23pc for ethical products.

The survey identified four distinct consumer behaviour groups which have emerged during the pandemic.

These are "cut deep", "stay calm, carry on", "save and stockpile" and "hibernate and spend".

Of the consumers surveyed, most are spending the same or less during lockdown, with 27.3pc falling into the "cut deep" section spending less across all expense categories and those representing the "stay calm, carry on" category (26.2pc) continuing to spend as normal.

More consumers (35.1pc) fall into the "save and stockpile" segment than any other, indicating that they feel pessimistic about the future, while consumers that fall into the "hibernate and spend" grouping (11.4pc) are spending more across the board.

19:40 26/05/2020

Ryanair confirms plan to operate more flights from July 1

Ryanair has confirmed its plan to ramp up flights to 40pc of its normal schedule from July 1 after Spain announced it will welcome the return of tourists from the same date.

The low-cost airline said it will operate flights to “key holiday airports” in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Cyprus.

It has launched a sale for flights in July and August with one-way fares starting from €29.99 in a bid to kick-start demand for travel.

Since mid-March, Ryanair has operated a skeleton daily schedule of 30 flights per day between the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe.

The Spanish government revealed on Monday that its requirement for overseas visitors to go into quarantine for 14 days will be lifted from July 1.


19:20 26/05/2020

Career breaks and lump sums offered to Dublin and Cork airport staff as Covid-19 impact hits DAA

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'A spokesman for DAA said that there had been "very strong interest" in Dublin Airport Central from a wide range of Irish and international businesses.' (stock photo)

'A spokesman for DAA said that there had been "very strong interest" in Dublin Airport Central from a wide range of Irish and international businesses.' (stock photo)

'A spokesman for DAA said that there had been "very strong interest" in Dublin Airport Central from a wide range of Irish and international businesses.' (stock photo)


John Mulligan

Workers at Dublin and Cork Airports with more than one year’s service are being offered the chance to take a career break of up to five years and still receive 20pc of their salary even if they take on a new job.

Those with more than 15 years’ service and who are aged between 50 and 59 can receive a lump sum to leave the DAA and continue to be paid one-third of their salaries until their normal retirement date.

They’re just two of the measures the DAA airport operator is offering workers as it tries to rapidly cut its staff numbers and operating costs following a collapse in air travel due to the coronavirus crisis.

Full article here:

19:00 26/05/2020

Leading coronavirus expert says Cheltenham Festival and Liverpool clash 'caused increased suffering and death'

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Despite calls for it to be postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Cheltenham Festival went ahead in March. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Despite calls for it to be postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Cheltenham Festival went ahead in March. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Despite calls for it to be postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Cheltenham Festival went ahead in March. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

The decision to allow the Cheltenham Festival and a Liverpool Champions League game to go ahead in March 'caused increased suffering and death', according to the scientist leading the UK's largest Covid-19 tracking project.

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Tim Spector said that the rates of coronavirus cases reported locally 'increased several-fold' after the events took place.

Despite coming under pressure to cancel or postpone the meeting, the Cheltenham Festival ran for four days from March 10 to March 13.

In football, Liverpool hosted Spanish side Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on March 11.

The same night that Anfield was sold out for the European tie, PSG took on Borussia Dortmund in Paris - although that game was played behind closed doors.


18:40 26/05/2020

Covid-19 survivors urged to donate plasma

UK Health officials have sent out a rallying call to Covid-19 survivors to donate their blood plasma.

Preliminary research suggests that three groups of patients have plasma which has the most potential to save lives. These include: patients over the age of 35, male Covid-19 survivors and patients who were ill enough to need hospital treatment.

A major trial is ongoing to assess whether convalescent plasma donations can be transfused into patients who are struggling to develop their own immune response.

The plasma from former patients is rich in the antibodies that develop as a person recovers from an illness.

It is transfused into people who are seriously ill with Covid-19 and struggling to develop their own antibodies.


18:20 26/05/2020

Leaving Cert calculated grades portal opens to a busy start

Katherine Donnelly

The online registration of Leaving Cert candidates for the new calculated grades process got off to a busy start today.

Within three hours of the opening on the gov.ie/leavingcertificate portal, 17,000 of the 61,000 candidates had registered.

The portal will remain open until 10pm on Thursday.

All Leaving Cert and Leaving Cert Applied students are being asked to register, even if, ultimately, they decide that they don’t want to receive the calculated grades.

Importantly, signing up to provides an opportunity for candidates to confirm the level at which they want to be assessed in the subject.

Students can stick with the same level – higher, ordinary, foundation - at which they entered for the traditional exams or they can drop down a level.


18:05 26/05/2020

Breakdown of latest figures

Latest data from the HPSC, as of midnight on Sunday (24,629 cases), reveals:

  • 57pc are female and 43pc are male
  • The median age of confirmed cases is 48 years
  • 3,233 cases (13pc) have been hospitalised
  • Of those hospitalised, 395 cases have been admitted to ICU
  • 7,852 cases are associated with healthcare workers
  • Dublin has the highest number of cases at 11,894 (48pc of all cases) followed by Cork with 1,440 cases (6pc) and then Kildare with 1,395 cases (6pc)
  • Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 59pc, close contact accounts for 38pc, travel abroad accounts for 3pc


18:03 25/05/2020

Nine more deaths from Covid-19 as 37 more people test positive

A further nine new deaths associated with Covid-19 have been registered today in Ireland.

There have been a total 1,615 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has confirmed that 37 more people have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of cases in Ireland to 24,735.

Northern Ireland reported no new coronavirus-related deaths today.

This is the first time since the pandemic took hold in late March that the daily figure has been zero.

Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said; “As of midnight Monday 25 May, 325,795 tests have been carried out. Over the past week, 30,169 tests were carried out and of these 633 were positive, giving a positivity rate of 2.1pc.

“NPHET will meet on Thursday 28th May where further consideration will be given to broadening the case definition.”


17:40 26/05/2020

Northern Ireland government departments may run out of cash, minister warns

Some Northern Ireland departments could have run out of cash before the end of July due to the cost of battling the pandemic, finance minister Conor Murphy has said.

Five Stormont departments were affected and one may have exhausted its funds as early as June 19.

Mr Murphy introduced a technical mechanism at the Assembly in Belfast authorising continued spending before more action by lawmakers next autumn.

The administration has been using millions of pounds to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

Business tax reliefs and special grants for under-pressure hoteliers and publicans are among extra costs racked up in a bid to keep the economy on life support.


17:20 26/05/2020

Day without Covid deaths brings hope amid calls on distancing

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A message reading 'mind each other'' is painted on an empty advertising space following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Dublin. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

A message reading 'mind each other'' is painted on an empty advertising space following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Dublin. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

REUTERS

A message reading 'mind each other'' is painted on an empty advertising space following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Dublin. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne


Eilish O'Regan

A potential turning point was reached in the fight against the coronavirus yesterday as no new deaths from the infection were reported for the first time since March.

The breakthrough looks set to heighten the campaign to reduce the two-metre rule on physical distancing.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described the welcome news of no daily fatalities as a "significant milestone".

He said: "First day with no reported Covid-19 deaths since March 21. This is a day of hope. We will prevail."


17:00 26/05/2020

Varadkar staying in State lodge for €50 a night

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Park life: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's temporary residence at Steward’s Lodge in Farmleigh

Park life: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's temporary residence at Steward’s Lodge in Farmleigh

Park life: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's temporary residence at Steward’s Lodge in Farmleigh


Philip Ryan, Cormac McQuinn and Eilish O'Regan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar can stay in a State-owned lodge in Phoenix Park for as little as €50 per night.

The Irish Independent yesterday revealed Mr Varadkar and his partner Matthew Barrett had been staying in Steward's Lodge on the grounds of the Farmleigh estate during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two-storey Victorian house is available to taoisigh from the Office of Public Works (OPW) for just €50 per night.

Full article here:


16:40 26/05/2020

Reset scrums facing axe as rugby bids to clean up act in Covid crisis

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22 February 2019; Both packs prepare to engage in a scrum during the U20 Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Italy and Ireland at Stadio Centro d'Italia in Rieti, Italy. Photo by Daniele Resini/Sportsfile

22 February 2019; Both packs prepare to engage in a scrum during the U20 Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Italy and Ireland at Stadio Centro d'Italia in Rieti, Italy. Photo by Daniele Resini/Sportsfile

22 February 2019; Both packs prepare to engage in a scrum during the U20 Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Italy and Ireland at Stadio Centro d'Italia in Rieti, Italy. Photo by Daniele Resini/Sportsfile

Daniel Schofield

World Rugby's medical group has proposed banning reset scrums in a huge shake-up of the sport's laws. Upright tackling, team huddles and spitting would also be scrapped, and players will be required to change kit and headgear at half-time to reduce the transmission risk of Covid-19.

The report recommends players wash their hands and face with soap for 20 seconds before kick-off and at half-time. Match balls should be changed and cleaned frequently.

The recommendations will be put before World Rugby's executive committee, which is expected to meet in the next 48 hours and will then publish temporary law guidelines. Those will then be adopted by individual nations depending on rates of Covid-19.

The report - compiled by Éanna Falvey, Prav Mathema, Mary Horgan and Martin Raftery - was produced with feedback from more than 80 medical officers. It examines transmission risk via sweat and saliva of scrums, rucks and tackles, and breaks down positions likely to suffer the greatest exposure.


16:20 26/05/2020

No new coronavirus-related deaths reported in Northern Ireland

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A staff member at a pharmacy in Holywood, Co. Down, is pictured wearing a protective visor and face mask. Photo: REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

A staff member at a pharmacy in Holywood, Co. Down, is pictured wearing a protective visor and face mask. Photo: REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

REUTERS

A staff member at a pharmacy in Holywood, Co. Down, is pictured wearing a protective visor and face mask. Photo: REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

Northern Ireland reported no new coronavirus-related deaths today.

This is the first time since the pandemic took hold in late March that the daily figure has been zero.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill welcomed the news as “heartening” but warned against complacency.

The Department of Health figures referred to no new deaths in the last 24-hour reporting period, nor newly notified deaths, leaving the total in the region at 514.

However, the daily update did record a further 28 confirmed positive cases of the virus, bringing the total number in Northern Ireland to 4,637.

The number of deaths is just a fraction of the potential 14,000 warned of by health minister Robin Swann in March before strict social distancing rules were introduced to stem the spread of the virus.

This now means that no new deaths as a result of the virus have been reported on the island of Ireland in over 24 hours.


15:40 26/05/2020

Liam Gallagher and Mark Owen to lead Covid-19 doorstep singalong

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Liam Gallagher (Aaron Chown/PA)

Liam Gallagher (Aaron Chown/PA)

Liam Gallagher (Aaron Chown/PA)

Take That’s Mark Owen and former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher are among the music stars hosting a mass doorstep singalong for Manchester on Thursday.

The event, titled Together In One Voice, will also see Tim Booth from James, Emeli Sande, Tom Walker and Liam Fray from The Courteeners introduce live renditions of their music – sung by the public from their homes.

The one-off event is aimed to unite Greater Manchester and celebrate the importance of community during the pandemic lockdown.

The musicians will be inviting people to sing along from their doorsteps, windows, balconies and streets, introducing the set-list of songs via a live stream alongside other well-known faces from the world of entertainment.


15:20 25/05/2020

Covid-19 tests and PPE to be delivered to Scottish island via drone

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Skyports' drone technology

Skyports' drone technology

Skyports' drone technology

Coronavirus test kits and protective equipment are among the medical supplies to be delivered to an island via drone.

Health authorities in Argyll and Bute, where the trial is taking place, said the two-week scheme will enable patients to be diagnosed more quickly.

Urgently needed supplies will be flown between Lorn and Islands District General Hospital in Oban and Mull and Iona Community Hospital in Craignure, Mull, around 12 miles away over the sea.

London-based drone delivery firm Skyports will carry out the trial and operate the flights, cutting delivery times to around 15 minutes.

Currently, the supplies are mainly delivered via road and a 45-minute ferry crossing.


15:00 26/05/2020

Concerns about nursing homes raised with watchdog almost 300 times during Covid-19 crisis

Cormac McQuinn reports

THE State's health watchdog has been contacted almost 300 times by people raising concerns about nursing homes during the coronavirus crisis.

Officials from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) said people have contacted them 292 times since the start of March.

It comes as the Dáil's Special Committee on Covid-19 Response probes the situation in nursing homes whose residents have been among the worst hit people in the community during the pandemic.

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness this morning said he believes that what happened in nursing homes was a "huge scandal".

This afternoon he asked Hiqa about its inspection regime for the homes.

Mary Dunnion, Hiqa's chief inspector of social services said the agency has 24 inspectors for 580 nursing homes.

She said that the watchdog has received concerns from staff, families and the residents themselves.

There were 28 concerns raised in March, 176 in April and 88 so far this month.

She said that staff had concerns over the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), coronavirus testing and infection control.

Families raised issues of safe-guarding residents and the quality of care as well as social isolation due to coronavirus visitor restrictions and concern over deaths that have occurred.

Ms Dunnion said that the main issue residents themselves raised was isolation and not being able to see their families.

She said Hiqa follows up on all information received and has carried out 200 inspections since March 1.

Some risk inspections are ongoing.

Mr McGuinness asked if all the concerns were upheld.

Ms Dunnion said that not all of them were but could not provide numbers.

She said most concerns from family members of residents were about restrictions on visits to nursing homes.

Ms Dunnion said Hiqa has written to public health authorities to seek advice on how nursing home owners can "open their doors in a controlled manner" for people that want to see relatives. She said no decisions have been made on this yet.


14:00 26/05/2020

Nursing homes resorted to using painters overalls and goggles in Covid-19 fight, documents reveal

Catherine Fegan and Cormac McQuinn

Nursing homes resorted to using painters’ overalls and masks made by dressmakers as they battled Covid-19, newly released documents reveal.

Testing for the virus, which took up to 20 days in some cases, and the impact of losing staff because of an HSE recruitment drive also added to pressures felt in the sector.

The shocking revelations are contained in correspondence between Department of Health and Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI), who represent the private and voluntary nursing home sector.


13:10 26/05/2020

TD angrily rejects claim that nursing homes were left isolated in Covid-19 crisis

Cormac McQuinn reports

A CLAIM that the nursing homes were left "isolated" by the State in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak has been angrily rejected in the Dáil.

Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd insisted that the allegation by Nursing Homes Ireland boss Tadhg Daly is "patently and obviously untrue".

It comes as the Dáil's Special Committee on Covid-19 Response probes the situation in nursing homes - one of the parts of the community worst-hit by the pandemic.

Mr Daly claimed “key State organisations left the nursing home sector and its residents isolated” in the early days of the crisis.

He added: “The dismay will live forever with us” while also saying he welcomed the supports provided by public health authorities as the crisis continued.


12:30 26/05/2020

Pubs say ‘standing room’ won’t work under Government social distancing rules

Shawn Pogatchnik

Many reopening pubs will be forced to limit patrons to one-eighth of their normal capacity under the Government’s two-metre rule for social distancing, a publican-commissioned analysis concludes.

The report for the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) appeals to the Government to reduce the State’s social distancing guidelines to one metre, as the World Health Organisation suggests as its minimum safe distance.

Both publican groups also are pressuring the Government to permit pubs with restaurant licences to open on June 29, the date set for restaurants to reopen. Pubs are expected to wait until August 10 under the State’s phased plan for exiting the Covid-19 lockdown.


12:20 26/05/2020

Medic who survived Covid-19 is antibody superdonor

Henry Bodkin

A British paediatrician who nearly died from coronavirus has been identified as an antibody superdonor whose blood plasma can significantly boost other patients' chances of survival.

Dr Alessandro Giardini, who spent seven days on a ventilator after contracting the virus, has been found to have antibody levels 40 times higher than the normal convalescent patient.

The 46-year-old father of two is now leading the campaign for other recovered patients to donate their blood plasma.


11:50 26/05/2020

Feared coronavirus surge happened in nursing homes, not hospitals, TDs told

Cormac McQuinn reports

THE feared surge in coronavirus cases happened in nursing homes, not in hospitals, TDs probing the State's response to the pandemic has been told.

Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) chief executive Tadhg Daly made the claim as he was quizzed at the Dáil's Special Committee on Covid-19 Response.

Sinn Féin TD Louise O'Reilly said that letters between NHI and the public health authorities show the organisation "begging" for assistance and pleading with the State to stop the "aggressive" recruitment of the sector's staff for acute hospitals.


11:00 26/05/2020

Coronavirus cluster found on cargo ship in Australia

Rod McGuirk, Associated Press

A coronavirus cluster has been detected on a freight ship berthed in the Australian west coast port of Fremantle.

Six of 48 crew members from the Al Kuwait tested positive for the virus four days after the livestock carrier arrived from the United Arab Emirates on Friday, Western Australia state Premier Mark McGowan said.

The six infected crew were transferred to hotel quarantine in the nearby city of Perth while health officials consider what to do with the remaining 42 people on board, he said.

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The ship will be deep-cleaned before it can leave (AuBC/CHANNEL 7/CHANNEL 9/AP)

The ship will be deep-cleaned before it can leave (AuBC/CHANNEL 7/CHANNEL 9/AP)

AP/PA Images

The ship will be deep-cleaned before it can leave (AuBC/CHANNEL 7/CHANNEL 9/AP)

The ship’s cargo of 56,000 sheep is being held at a facility near the port.

They were to be loaded within days and cannot be returned to farms because of quarantine restrictions, Mr McGowan said.


10:20 26/05/2020

Intensive care boss ‘considerably worried’ over risk of second wave

Cate McCurry, PA

An intensive care boss has said hospital staff are “considerably worried” over the risks of a second wave of coronavirus as Ireland relaxes its quarantine rules.

Dr Catherine Motherway, president of the Intensive Care Society of Ireland, said there is particular concern ahead of next winter’s flu season as the hospital system is always under pressure during that period.

Experts have warned of the dangers of a second wave hitting the country if it moves too quickly to relax restrictions on people’s movement.

Professor Motherway told RTE’s Morning Ireland: “I think we’re all considerably worried about that (second wave) in the hospital services because we will always be stressed and under pressure in the winter anyway because of the flu season."


09:30 26/05/2020

Coronavirus vaccine: Novavax begins human trials in Australia

Rod McGuirk

Human trials for a coronavirus vaccine have begun in Australia as US biotechnology company Novavax hopes to release a proven jab this year.

The company said 131 volunteers in Melbourne and Brisbane are being used to test the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

Animal testing suggested it is effective in low doses, and Novavax could manufacture at least 100 million doses this year and 1.5 billion in 2021, the company’s research chief Dr Gregory Glenn said.

He added: “We are in parallel making doses, making vaccine in anticipation that we’ll be able to show it’s working and be able to start deploying it by the end of this year.”


08:50 26/05/2020

WHO executive warns first wave of coronavirus is not yet over

Elaine Kurtenbach

A health expert has warned that the world is still in the midst of the “first wave” of the coronavirus pandemic.

World Health Organisation (WHO) executive director Dr Mike Ryan warned that the risks of reigniting coronavirus outbreaks are complicating efforts to fend off further misery for the many millions who have lost their jobs.

Dr Ryan said: “Right now, we’re not in the second wave. We’re right in the middle of the first wave globally.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

“We’re still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up.”

Dr Ryan pointed to South America, South Asia and other areas where the number of infections is still on the rise.

Mindful of the risks, Americans settled for small processions and online tributes instead of parades on Monday as the US observed Memorial Day in the shadow of the pandemic.


07:25 26/05/2020

'Don't leave it until the last minute' - Education Minister urges Leaving Certificate students to register for calculated grading

Aoife Walsh

Education Minister Joe McHugh has urged Leaving Certificate students to not "leave it until the last minute" before registering for calculated grading.

The new online calculated grades student portal will open for registration to Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied students from today.

All Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied students are required to register on gov.ie/leavingcertificate between 10am Tuesday, May 26 and 10pm Thursday, May 28.

Mr McHugh urged students: “Please don’t leave it until the last minute. This is a tight timeframe. We need every student to register so that the new system can operate smoothly."

.Some 61,000 students are expected to register on the portal, 58,000 of which are following the Leaving Certificate or Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme, and 3,000 Leaving Certificate Applied Students.

Students will have the option of confirming the level at which they wish to sit each subject, or changing to a lower level.

Upon registering, students must have the following information to hand:

  • Their Examination Number
  • Their Personal Public Service number (PPS), which they will use to create a four-digit Personal Identification Number
  • Email address
  • Mobile phone number

Once the Department has received all the necessary data from schools, students will be asked to opt in through the portal to indicate if they wish to receive calculated grades.

"The important message for Leaving Certificate students is that they must now register by Thursday at 10pm to ensure that they can receive their Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades," Mr McHugh added.

“It is also essential that students confirm their levels at this time so that schools can complete the task of providing information for each student about their expected level of performance in each subject.”

Students can register by clicking here.


07:20 26/05/2020

South Korea reports 19 new coronavirus cases as children return to school

Press Association

South Korea has reported 19 new coronavirus cases on the eve of the return to school for more than two million children.

The majority of the new cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have been actively tracing transmissions linked to nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also reported two more deaths, bringing the country’s total to 269 fatalities from 11,225 cases.

Wednesday will see around 2.4 million pupils return to school, and health minister Park Neung-hoo urged school officials to double-check their preventive measures.


07:15 26/05/2020

Nursing homes were a 'blind spot' early on in response to pandemic

Cormac McQuinn

Nursing homes were a "significant 'blind spot'" in the State's coronavirus response and were left "isolated" in the early days of the pandemic, it has been claimed.

The claims come as the Dáil's Special Committee on Covid-19 Response today examines the impact of the pandemic on nursing homes.

Politicians will hear from older people advocacy organisation Sage Advocacy, Nursing Homes Ireland - which represents private facilities - and State watchdog the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa).

The committee will also be attended by representatives of the HSE and, later today, from the Department of Justice in relation to Covid-19 outbreaks in direct provision centres for asylum seekers.


07:00 26/05/2020

Government warns it won't cover €500m Covid-19 black hole in higher education

Katherine Donnelly

The Government will not cover Covid-19 losses of at least €500m facing third-level colleges, the Department of Education has warned.

Department officials have signalled support for extreme cases, where cash flow difficulties may be serious enough to threaten a college's viability.

But otherwise, universities, institutes of technology and other publicly funded colleges have been told to look to their own reserves, or any other financial mechanism available to them, to cushion Covid's financial fallout.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) recently sought a "significant government intervention in the form of a financial support package" to support the sector "through this crisis".

Online Editors