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Coronavirus Ireland Live Updates: Nine more people have died of Covid-19 and 24 new cases confirmed

  • The coronavirus death toll in Ireland has risen to 1,678 after nine more deaths were recorded
  • 24 new cases have also been confirmed
  • In total, there have been 25,183 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland
  • Roadmap to reopening has been accelerated, with Phase 2 Plus to start on Monday
  • Up to six people can meet up indoors or outdoors, people can travel within 20km and within their own county from June 8
  • Pubs serving food can open at the end of the month
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    Medical staff at the Bon Secours Hospital, Tralee, in full PPE in theatre, as all adjust to a new era in which structures once associated with virology labs become commonplace in theatre and across so many other clinical settings as a result of COVID-19. The use of PPE is impacting efficiency everywhere as hospitals move to provide optimal protection for patients and staff.

    Medical staff at the Bon Secours Hospital, Tralee, in full PPE in theatre, as all adjust to a new era in which structures once associated with virology labs become commonplace in theatre and across so many other clinical settings as a result of COVID-19. The use of PPE is impacting efficiency everywhere as hospitals move to provide optimal protection for patients and staff.

    Two women wearing face masks make their way to the shops on an almost deserted Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

    Two women wearing face masks make their way to the shops on an almost deserted Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

    PA

    A nurse assists a Covid-19 patient at the Doctors Without Borders Drouillard Hospital in Cite Soleil, Haiti. (Photo by Pierre Michel Jean / AFP) (Photo by PIERRE MICHEL JEAN/AFP via Getty Images)

    A nurse assists a Covid-19 patient at the Doctors Without Borders Drouillard Hospital in Cite Soleil, Haiti. (Photo by Pierre Michel Jean / AFP) (Photo by PIERRE MICHEL JEAN/AFP via Getty Images)

    AFP via Getty Images

    Hug: A man is reunited with his daughter at Rome airport as she comes back with his wife from Colombia after Italy reopened its borders this week.
Photo: Reuters

    Hug: A man is reunited with his daughter at Rome airport as she comes back with his wife from Colombia after Italy reopened its borders this week. Photo: Reuters

    REUTERS

    Members of the Irish Defence Forces at a Covid-19 testing facility at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

    Members of the Irish Defence Forces at a Covid-19 testing facility at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

    PA

    A person wearing a facemask on the Ha'penny bridge during the Covid 19 pandemic in Dublin's City Centre. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

    A person wearing a facemask on the Ha'penny bridge during the Covid 19 pandemic in Dublin's City Centre. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

    Members of the Irish Defence forces at a Covid-19 testing facility at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

    Members of the Irish Defence forces at a Covid-19 testing facility at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

    PA

    An employee at reception desk protected by plexiglass mesasures the temperature of hotel staff at the lobby of the Athens Palace hotel, on the first day of the opening of hotels in Greece (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

    An employee at reception desk protected by plexiglass mesasures the temperature of hotel staff at the lobby of the Athens Palace hotel, on the first day of the opening of hotels in Greece (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

    Getty Images

    A private security guard stands beside a banner with at entrance gate of the English and Foreign Languages University (EFL) in Secunderabad. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)

    A private security guard stands beside a banner with at entrance gate of the English and Foreign Languages University (EFL) in Secunderabad. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)

    AFP via Getty Images

    A Yemeni sanitation worker, wearing protective gear, sprays disinfectant in a neighbourhood in the northern Hajjah province during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by ESSA AHMED/AFP via Getty Images)

    A Yemeni sanitation worker, wearing protective gear, sprays disinfectant in a neighbourhood in the northern Hajjah province during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by ESSA AHMED/AFP via Getty Images)

    AFP via Getty Images

    A worshipper wears gloves to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as mosques reopened across Saudi Arabia (Amr Nabil/AP)

    A worshipper wears gloves to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as mosques reopened across Saudi Arabia (Amr Nabil/AP)

    AP/PA Images

    /

    Medical staff at the Bon Secours Hospital, Tralee, in full PPE in theatre, as all adjust to a new era in which structures once associated with virology labs become commonplace in theatre and across so many other clinical settings as a result of COVID-19. The use of PPE is impacting efficiency everywhere as hospitals move to provide optimal protection for patients and staff.

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

    21:30 06/06/2020

    Thousands face childcare 'gap' as they return to work before the crèches are due to reopen

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    Stock picture

    Stock picture

    Stock picture

    Anne-Marie Walsh

    Thousands of workers face being left without childcare after the Government fast-tracked the reopening of the economy.

    Retail staff will return to work in bigger numbers from June 15 as shopping centres open their doors and the exit from the Covid-19 crisis is accelerated.

    But the first crèches and childminders will not be back in business until June 29.

    Tourism and hospitality staff and workers at bars that serve food will return to work on that date - but 'essential' workers will get first call on places.

    Restrictions on the over-70s mean minding grandchildren is no longer a feasible childcare option under public health guidelines.

    Full story here:

    20:30 06/06/2020

    Katherine Donnelly: 'We must learn key lessons from return to schools in other countries'

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    Back to school: The already-packed daily school routine will have to include regular hand-washing and sanitisation. Picture: Reuters

    Back to school: The already-packed daily school routine will have to include regular hand-washing and sanitisation. Picture: Reuters

    REUTERS

    Back to school: The already-packed daily school routine will have to include regular hand-washing and sanitisation. Picture: Reuters

    It's the cycling capital of Europe, so it's easy for the authorities to suggest to parents of children returning to school in the Netherlands in the time of Covid-19 that more of them should take their bike or walk.

    That won't work as easily in many parts of Ireland, but the challenge is the same: how to avoid crowding on public transport as students and workers compete for space on reduced-capacity buses and trains in the autumn.

    We don't know yet what the rules around social distancing will be in September, but the planning around reopening schools is factoring in the need to keep a minimum separation.

    That impacts on everything from capacity on school buses and other public transport, to reducing the number of pupils in classrooms, to how many can sit in the canteen at any one time.

    Education Minister Joe McHugh is confident the two-metre rule will change. A relaxation to one metre would make the logistics easier, but would still involve part-time attendance by pupils and small class 'bubbles', perhaps separated from other groups for the day.

    Full story here:

    19:30 06/06/2020

    Global coronavirus cases top 7 million as outbreak grows in Brazil, India - Reuters tally

    Lisa Shumaker

    Global cases of the novel coronavirus topped 7 million on Saturday, as case numbers surge in Brazil and India, according to a Reuters tally.

    About 30 per cent of those cases, or 2 million infections, are in the United States. Latin America has the second-largest outbreak with over 15pc of cases.

    Globally, deaths from the novel coronavirus are approaching 400,000.

    The United States accounts for about one-quarter of all fatalities but deaths in South America are rapidly rising.

    The number of deaths linked to COVID-19 in just five months is now equal to the number of people who die annually from malaria, one of the world's most deadly infectious diseases.

    The first COVID-19 death was reported on Jan. 10 in Wuhan, China but it was early April before the death toll passed 100,000, according to the Reuters tally of official reports from governments. It took 23 days to go from 300,000 to 400,000 deaths.

    The United States has the highest death toll in the world at almost 110,000. Fatalities in Brazil are rising rapidly and the country may overtake the United Kingdom to have the second-largest number of deaths in the world.

    The total number of deaths is believed to be higher than the officially reported 400,000 as many countries lack supplies to test all victims and some countries do not count deaths outside of a hospital.

    18:45 06/06/2020

    Archdiocese says it 'does not approve' of plans for drive-in Mass at car park

    Sarah MacDonald

    The Archdiocese of Dublin has said it is investigating plans for a large-scale drive-in Mass at the car park at Leopardstown Racecourse in Dublin on the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi on June 14.

    A spokesperson for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told the Irish Independent the matter was being investigated and the event was not authorised by the Diocese or parish but appeared to have been organised by a private company.

    "The Diocese does not approve of drive-in liturgies, which do not satisfy the true community dimension of people coming together to worship and have no roots in Catholic tradition," Dr Martin's spokesperson warned.

    "There are still limits on the number of people who can attend outside gatherings which is a matter of public health concern."

    18:00 06/06/2020

    I took a Covid-19 antibody test - here's what it could mean for my travels

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    Dr Graham Fry and Pól Ó Conghaile at the Tropical Medical Bureau

    Dr Graham Fry and Pól Ó Conghaile at the Tropical Medical Bureau

    Dr Graham Fry and Pól Ó Conghaile at the Tropical Medical Bureau


    Pól Ó Conghaile

    I was nervous. My trip to the Tropical Medical Bureau (TMB) was the most exotic one I'd taken in 10 weeks.

    I had my supermarket and exercise routines down, but visiting a clinic for an €80 antibody test? With Covid-19 screening measures likely to dominate future travel, however, I felt it was worth stepping out of my comfort zone.

    Arriving at the clinic, I was asked to use hand sanitiser and don a free face mask. In a consultation, Dr Graham Fry outlined the procedure.

    While PCR swab tests tell if you currently have the disease, antibody tests check blood for specific Covid-19 antibodies that may be present if you had it in the past.

    Full story here:

    17:10 06/06/2020

    Nine more people have died of coronavirus in Ireland and 24 new cases confirmed

    Wayne O'Connor

    Another nine people have died because of Covid-19, according to figures released this evening.

    The Department of Health said it has also been notified of another 24 confirmed cases of the virus.

    It means there have now been 1,678 Covid related deaths, and 25,183 cases of the virus in Ireland since the crisis began.

    A spokeswoman for the department said the HSE is working to identify any contacts the new patients may have had to prevent further spread.

    The figures include cases up to midnight last night.

    16:35 06/06/2020

    'I am looking forward to having a hot cup of tea' - Hero gran returns home after six-week virus fight

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    Mary O’Reilly (72) from Beaumont with her daughters Deirdre,Fiona and Orla after she came home to a heroes welcome from family and neighbours after surviving Covid and having spent 19 weeks in hospital from January, 
Pic:Mark Condren

    Mary O’Reilly (72) from Beaumont with her daughters Deirdre,Fiona and Orla after she came home to a heroes welcome from family and neighbours after surviving Covid and having spent 19 weeks in hospital from January, Pic:Mark Condren

    Mary O’Reilly (72) from Beaumont with her daughters Deirdre,Fiona and Orla after she came home to a heroes welcome from family and neighbours after surviving Covid and having spent 19 weeks in hospital from January, Pic:Mark Condren

    Aoife Walsh

    A grandmother who tested positive for Covid-19 was given a hero's welcome home after making a miraculous recovery from the virus.

    Mary O'Reilly (72), from Artane, Dublin, completed a staggering 19-week stay in hospital yesterday, six of those spent battling coronavirus.

    Around 70 neighbours gathered outside Ms O'Reilly's house to celebrate her return home with tea and Prosecco.

    Among the socially-distanced crowd were her children, grandchildren and gardai from Santry.

    An upbeat Ms O'Reilly told the Herald she was delighted to finally be home with her family after weeks of being apart from them.

    "I'm feeling great. I have just come home and they were having a party for me. I'm delighted," she said.

    Full story here:

    16:00 06/06/2020

    Philip Ryan: Behind the scenes - how Varadkar went against medical advice in the interest of trying to save the summer

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    An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, leaves the press centre after speaking to the media at Government Buildings, Dublin, on the next phase of the Roadmap for reopening society and business following a Cabinet meeting. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

    An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, leaves the press centre after speaking to the media at Government Buildings, Dublin, on the next phase of the Roadmap for reopening society and business following a Cabinet meeting. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

    PA

    An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, leaves the press centre after speaking to the media at Government Buildings, Dublin, on the next phase of the Roadmap for reopening society and business following a Cabinet meeting. Photo: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA Wire

    Michael Ring was late getting to the Cabinet meeting in Dublin Castle on Thursday evening. He had been caught up with work but it suited him to make a bit of an entrance.

    For weeks he had been growing more and more frustrated with the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on his constituents. He was constantly getting it in the neck from voters who were becoming increasingly angry with the State-imposed lockdown.

    When he got a chance to speak he insisted it was time to reopen the entire country.

    Forget about the 20km limit on non-essential travel and let people move around the country like they did before the virus took over out lives.

    He pointed to other Cabinet members from rural communities including Seán Kyne, Joe McHugh and Regina Doherty and noted issues they had raised with the restrictions. Ring said the 5km travel ban was ridiculous for rural counties and 20km wasn't much better.

    He said most people living outside of the Dublin commuter belt don't have access to major retail outlets within 20km of their home.

    The Mayo minister said people from Castlebar couldn't even drive as far as the beach in his native Westport if the travel ban was not eased further.

    In a nod to Ring's victory, the Taoiseach used the same example when he explained his decision to allow people travel as far as they like within their own counties from Monday.

    Yesterday morning after they agreed to lift the travel ban by county, ministers joked that Ring's persistence on the issue had finally won over the Taoiseach.

    However, members of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) were scratching their heads when they saw the decisions.

    Not only had they not recommended lifting travel restriction by county, they hadn't even discussed the idea at any of their meetings this week or any other time.

    Full story here:

    15:30 06/06/2020

    Referee decisions could be impacted by empty stadiums, says sports psychologist

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    Refereeing decisions could be impact by the lack of crowd (Mark Kerton/PA)

    Refereeing decisions could be impact by the lack of crowd (Mark Kerton/PA)

    Refereeing decisions could be impact by the lack of crowd (Mark Kerton/PA)

    The absence of fans at Premier League matches will not only impact players’ performances but potentially the decisions made by referees, according to a sports psychologist.

    With play halted due to the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, ‘Project Restart’ is in the final stages as the English top-flight prepares to return on June 17.

    But action will resume in front of empty stands due to the risk of Covid-19, bringing the unusual pressure of millions of extra television viewers but empty stands in grounds which would usually be packed.

    Marc Jones, professor of psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, believes home advantage will be impacted by audience-free sporting events, pointing not only to player performances but the way referees officiate.


    15:00 06/06/2020

    Lessons must be learned to prevent second wave of coronavirus, says expert

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    Dominic Cummings broke Lockdown rules in Britain

    Dominic Cummings broke Lockdown rules in Britain

    REUTERS

    Dominic Cummings broke Lockdown rules in Britain

    An inquiry identifying failures around the UK Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic must be delivered within months to prepare for a second wave of the disease, Scotland’s former chief scientific adviser has said.

    Professor Dame Anne Glover said it would be “inexcusable” for ministers to repeat “mistakes that have already been made” should there be a second spike of coronavirus cases this winter.

    Her comments come as 27 medical and scientific experts signed a letter to The Guardian warning many more Britons may die if the UK Government is without solutions to “some of the structural problems that have made implementing an effective response so difficult”.

    Prof Glover, who is now president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, told the PA news agency: “Given that second wave is likely to come at a time that is likely to coincide with seasonal influenza, and that would give us serious problems, we really need to understand what the failings have been in our apparent inability to be able to deal with this pandemic appropriately.”

    She said the UK could be faced with “very many more needless deaths” during the winter without a “rapid and transparent” inquiry, looking at areas such as personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement and track and trace systems.


    14:30 06/06/2020

    Staycation nation: will home holidays save Irish tourism?

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    Making a splash: Inish Adventures in Co Donegal is back in action. Photo by Lorcan Doherty

    Making a splash: Inish Adventures in Co Donegal is back in action. Photo by Lorcan Doherty

    ©Lorcan Doherty

    Making a splash: Inish Adventures in Co Donegal is back in action. Photo by Lorcan Doherty

    Kim Bielenberg

    Holidaymakers of Ireland, your country needs you. That could be the rallying call of hoteliers, publicans and restaurateurs this week as they ponder the future of an industry in the depths of crisis.

    As they gazed out at blue skies and wide expanses of mostly empty beaches on the June bank holiday Monday, they could only rue the season that might have been.

    Michael Yates runs the Diamond Coast Hotel in Enniscrone, Co Sligo and only recently completed a €2m refurbishment.

    On a summer bank holiday in a normal year, the hotels, the camping and caravan parks of the Sligo resort would be full, and restaurants and bars would be packed. Swimmers, surfers and paddleboarders would throng the beach.

    Full story here:


    14:00 06/06/2020

    Bolsonaro threatens WHO exit as Covid-19 kills 'a Brazilian per minute'

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    Leader: Jair Bolsonaro wears a mask bearing an image of himself as he speaks to reporters in Brasilia at the weekend. Photo: Reuters/Adriano Machado

    Leader: Jair Bolsonaro wears a mask bearing an image of himself as he speaks to reporters in Brasilia at the weekend. Photo: Reuters/Adriano Machado

    REUTERS

    Leader: Jair Bolsonaro wears a mask bearing an image of himself as he speaks to reporters in Brasilia at the weekend. Photo: Reuters/Adriano Machado

    President Jair Bolsonaro threatened on Friday to pull Brazil out of the World Health Organization after the U.N. agency warned Latin American governments about the risk of lifting lockdowns before slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus throughout the region.

    A new Brazilian record for daily COVID-19 fatalities pushed the county's death toll past that of Italy late on Thursday, but Bolsonaro continues to argue for quickly lifting state isolation orders, arguing that the economic costs outweigh public health risks.

    Latin America's most populous nations, Brazil and Mexico, are seeing the highest rates of new infections, though the pandemic is also gathering pace in countries such as Peru, Colombia, Chile and Bolivia.

    Overall, more than 1.1 million Latin Americans have been infected. While most leaders have taken the pandemic more seriously than Bolsonaro, some politicians that backed strict lockdowns in March and April are pushing to open economies back up as hunger and poverty grow.

    In an editorial running the length of newspaper Folha de S.Paulo's front page, the Brazilian daily highlighted that just 100 days had passed since Bolsonaro described the virus now "killing a Brazilian per minute" as "a little flu."


    13:30 06/06/2020

    Italy hopes EU nations will open borders to Italians from June 15

    Italy hopes other EU countries will reopen their borders to Italian citizens on June 15, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Saturday, as coronavirus travel restrictions across Europe are gradually eased.

    Italy - which has the world's fourth-highest Covid-19 death toll after the United States, Britain and Brazil - opened its doors to other EU citizens on June 3, but most European countries are still largely off-limits for Italian nationals.

    "June 15 is an important date for many of our citizens," Di Maio told a news conference during a visit to neighbouring Slovenia.

    Slovenian Foreign Minister Anze Logar told the same news conference: "Health conditions in Italy are improving fast ... I'm looking optimistically towards June 15."

    Italy has so far reported about 234,500 coronavirus cases and 33,770 deaths.


    13:00 06/06/2020

    Dutch mink cull starts as coronavirus spreads to 10th farm

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    Mink on a farm.

    Mink on a farm.

    Mink on a farm.

    Dutch mink farms have begun a government-ordered cull amid concern that animals infected with coronavirus could transmit the illness to humans.

    Infected mink have been found on 10 Dutch farms where the ferret-like animals are bred for their fur, according to the country's Food & Wares Authority.

    "All mink breeding farms where there is an infection will be cleared, and farms where there are no infections won't be," said spokeswoman Frederique Hermie.

    The government ordered the cull of 10,000 mink on Wednesday after determining that affected farms could act as a long-term reservoir of disease.

    Dutch mink were first infected with coronavirus by their handlers in April. In May, the government identified two cases in which humans had been infected by sick animals -- the only animal-to-human transmissions known since the global outbreak began in China.


    12:30 06/06/2020

    Fugitive virus remains a risk as we head for super-charged phase-two exit from lockdown

    Eilish O'Regan

    How much of a grip does the dangerous and elusive Covid-19 virus still have on us as we head towards a super-charged phase-two exit from lockdown next week?

    Are we ready and what do we need to know about the risks ahead?

    The reality is that while Covid-19 is weakened, it remains a fugitive virus among us. For many weeks the focus has been on infection hotspots like nursing homes and more recently meat plants - but the advantage in trying to contain these outbreaks is that public health doctors are able to pinpoint the location of infections.

    Full story here:


    12:00 06/06/2020

    Penneys stores to reopen next week

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    Penneys on Mary St, Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney

    Penneys on Mary St, Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney

    Penneys on Mary St, Dublin. Photo: Gerry Mooney

    Bairbre Power

    It's the news that lots of shoppers have been waiting to hear - Penneys stores will reopen next week.

    Primark bosses met last night and the company today confirmed that their stores with street access will open next Friday.

    The 16 Penneys stores with street access opening next Friday June 12 are: Dublin's Mary Street and O'Connell Street, Dun Laoghaire, Wexford, Sligo, Kilkenny, Limerick, Drogheda, Newbridge, Waterford, Tralee, Cork, Clonmel, Swords, Ballina and Killarney.

    The remaining 20 stores opening on Monday June 15 are: Dundrum, Blanchardstown, Liffey Valley, Nutgrove, Santry, Artane, Navan, Mullingar, Portlaoise, Ennis, Dooradoyle, Letterkenny, Galway S.C, Galway Eyre Square, Longford, Castlebar, Athlone, Dundalk Marshes, Wilton and Carlow temporary store.


    11:30 06/06/2020

    Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus as number of deaths near 400,000

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    Summer season: The pool area of a holiday village in Sicily is cleaned for its first visitors since the lockdown. PHOTOS: REUTERS

    Summer season: The pool area of a holiday village in Sicily is cleaned for its first visitors since the lockdown. PHOTOS: REUTERS

    REUTERS

    Summer season: The pool area of a holiday village in Sicily is cleaned for its first visitors since the lockdown. PHOTOS: REUTERS

    Some countries have seen Covid-19 cases rising as lockdowns ease, and populations must protect themselves from the coronavirus while authorities continue testing, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

    More than 6.77 million people have been reported infected with the new coronavirus globally and 395,053 have died, a Reuters tally showed as of this morning.

    British scientists halted a major drug trial after finding that the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine, touted by US President Donald Trump as a potential "game changer" in the pandemic, was "useless" at treating Covid-19 patients.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) updated its guidance to recommend that governments ask everyone to wear fabric face masks in public areas where there is a risk of Covid-19 transmission to help reduce the spread of the pandemic disease.

    India reported a record 9,887 new coronavirus cases in one day on Saturday and overtook Italy as the world's sixth-biggest outbreak, two days before the relaxing of a lockdown with the reopening of malls, restaurants and places of worship.

    The US economy unexpectedly added jobs in May, surprising economists and analysts who had forecast millions more losing their livelihoods, and raising hopes of a faster economic recovery than expected.

    President Jair Bolsonaro threatened to pull Brazil out of the World Health Organization after the UN agency warned Latin American governments about the risk of lifting lockdowns before slowing the coronavirus spread throughout the region


    11:00 06/06/2020

    Thousands face childcare 'gap' as they return to work before the crèches are due to reopen

    Anne-Marie Walsh

    Thousands of workers face being left without childcare after the Government fast-tracked the reopening of the economy.

    Retail staff will return to work in bigger numbers from June 15 as shopping centres open their doors and the exit from the Covid-19 crisis is accelerated.

    But the first crèches and childminders will not be back in business until June 29.

    General secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Patricia King said some workers will face major difficulties because of a gap between the date they return to work and availability of childcare.


    10:30 06/06/2020

    Iranian wedding party fuelled new Covid-19 surge, President Rouhani says

    A wedding party contributed to a new surge in coronavirus infections in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday but insisted the country had no option but to keep its economy open despite warnings of a second wave of the epidemic.

    Iran, which has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, has reported a sharp rise of new daily infections in recent days. Thursday's toll of 3,574 new cases was the highest since February, when the outbreak was first reported.

    "At one location, we witnessed a peak in this epidemic, the source of which was a wedding that caused problems for the people, health workers and losses to the economy and the country's health system," Rouhani said on state TV. He did not say when or where the wedding took place.

    New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran's total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths.

    Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing. One official said about 70pc of the new cases in Tehran were among those who had traveled outside the capital in recent days.


    10:00 06/06/2020

    'We can't wait to open,' say retailers as they prepare to welcome customers again

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    Back in business: Kate Masterson of the Kitchen Whisk shop on Wicklow Street gets ready for the reopening on Monday. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

    Back in business: Kate Masterson of the Kitchen Whisk shop on Wicklow Street gets ready for the reopening on Monday. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

    Back in business: Kate Masterson of the Kitchen Whisk shop on Wicklow Street gets ready for the reopening on Monday. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

    Bairbre Power

    The big focus is on bricks and mortar stores from next Monday.

    The biggest shift in opening dates is undoubtedly for the shopping centres whose fortunes changed massively, moving by almost two months, from phase five on August 10, and fast-forwarded to June 15.

    In a statement to the Irish Independent, Dundrum Town Centre, the largest shopping centre in the country, said it "welcomed the update from the Government and is working towards the revised timelines".

    Full story here:


    09:30 06/06/2020

    The full plan to speed up exit from lockdown

    Ireland is being fast-tracked out of months of Covid-19 lockdown after the Taoiseach announced a major acceleration of the easing of social distancing restrictions.

    Leo Varadkar decided to overrule public health advice to speed-up his roadmap for reopening the country.

    The significant move means from Monday people will be able to travel anywhere in their county.

    The decision was taken despite advice from chief medical officer Tony Holohan insisting people should only be allowed to travel 20km from their homes.

    Meanwhile, every single retail outlet across the country has been given the green light to open their doors to customers next week as long as they adhere to social distancing rules. Shopping centres can also reopen even though Mr Holohan said they should remain closed.

    The Irish Independent has also seen a new Government report suggesting the two-week self-isolation period for passengers arriving in Ireland should be lifted for certain people.


    09:00 06/06/2020

    George Floyd protests planned across UK despite public urged to avoid mass gatherings

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    Protesters in London’s Trafalgar Square during a Black Lives Matter rally (Victoria Jones/PA)

    Protesters in London’s Trafalgar Square during a Black Lives Matter rally (Victoria Jones/PA)

    PA

    Protesters in London’s Trafalgar Square during a Black Lives Matter rally (Victoria Jones/PA)


    Anti-racism protests are planned across the UK this weekend in the wake of the death of George Floyd – but ministers have urged people to avoid mass gatherings.

    African American Mr Floyd died after a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis on May 25, sparking days of protests in the US.

    Demonstrators are expected to converge on Parliament Square in London on Saturday and the US Embassy in the capital the next day, while other events are planned across the country.

    An estimated 4,000 people are expected to attend a demonstration in Bristol, which will include a march through the city to Castle Park on Sunday, Avon and Somerset police said.

    But ministers have urged people not to gather in large numbers and police have warned that mass demonstrations could be unlawful.

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that he was “appalled” by the death of Mr Floyd, but stressed that the UK was still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remained a “real threat”.


    08:30 06/06/2020

    ‘Bat-like’ sensor could help social distancing as lockdown lifts

    A new “bat-like” sensor, which could help social distancing as lockdown measures are eased, has been developed by a Scottish start-up company.

    Alex Bowen’s creation uses echolocation instead of light to receive images – much like a bat uses sound to identify its surroundings – without identifiable data and allows artificial intelligence (AI) to understand the physical world.

    Despite first focusing on domestic applications, it is hoped the sensor could help make social distancing in office buildings and other areas easier while still ensuring privacy.

    They used MEMS microphones – already widely used in mobile phones and smart home assistants – for the sensor which could now provide a base to create more advanced AI products.


    08:00 06/06/2020

    Prince William reveals he has secretly been a helpline counsellor for people in crisis

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    Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, talk with staff during a visit to the London Ambulance Service 111 control room

    Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, talk with staff during a visit to the London Ambulance Service 111 control room

    via REUTERS

    Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, talk with staff during a visit to the London Ambulance Service 111 control room

    The Duke of Cambridge has revealed he has been secretly counselling people contacting a crisis helpline developed by his Royal Foundation.

    William’s work with Shout 85258 – a round-the-clock text messaging helpline – was announced to mark Volunteers Week.

    Last month, the duke and duchess marked the service’s first anniversary by speaking to some of its volunteers via video call, and William said: “I’m going to share a little secret with you guys, but I’m actually on the platform volunteering.”

    Kate has also been helping others and has taken part in “check in and chat” calls with those self-isolating or vulnerable as part of the Royal Voluntary Service’s NHS Volunteer Responders scheme.

    A royal source said the Cambridges would be carrying out official events via video calls for the foreseeable future but they were hoping to resume visits in person at some point.

    Online Editors