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Coronavirus Ireland Live Updates: One more person has died as number of confirmed cases passes 25,000

  • The coronavirus death toll in Ireland has fallen to 1,650 after one further death was recorded and three were denotified
  • 77 new cases have also been confirmed
  • In total, there have been 25,062 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland
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    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

    /

    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)

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


    22:55 01/06/2020

    Trump cutting US ties with World Health Organization over virus

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    President Donald Trump (Patrick Semansky/AP)

    President Donald Trump (Patrick Semansky/AP)

    President Donald Trump (Patrick Semansky/AP)

    The United States will end its relationship with the World Health Organization over the body's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, US President Donald Trump said on Friday, accusing the UN agency of becoming a puppet of China.

    The move to quit the Geneva-based body, which the United States formally joined in 1948, comes amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over the coronavirus outbreak. The virus first emerged in China's Wuhan city late last year.

    Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said Chinese officials "ignored their reporting obligations" to the WHO about the virus - that has killed hundreds of thousands of people globally - and pressured the agency to "mislead the world."

    "China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying which is approximately $450 million a year," he said.

    Trump's decision follows a May 18 pledge of $2 billion by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the World Health Assembly - the WHO decision-making body - to help deal with the coronavirus and economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries. It was not immediately clear how much of that money would actually go to the WHO.

    Trump last month halted funding for the 194-member organization, then in a May 18 letter gave the WHO 30 days to commit to reforms.


    22:35 01/06/2020

    Queens Park Rangers chief executive appalled by Championship restart plans

    Queens Park Rangers chief executive Lee Hoos has slammed the English Football League's plans to resume the Championship season on June 20, saying clubs were informed of the decision only moments before it was made public.

    The Championship has been suspended since March 8 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but the government has given the green light for elite sport to return from Monday behind closed doors provided strict conditions are met.

    "I am absolutely stunned by this announcement, as is our Director of Football, Les Ferdinand, and our manager, Mark Warburton," Hoos said on QPR's website.

    "Incredibly, there has been absolutely no consultation with individual clubs nor with the Championship doctors' working group by anyone in the Football League regarding this matter.

    "Having spoken with Les and Mark, they share my views. We are vehemently opposed to this schedule."


    22:15 01/06/2020

    Italy's end to travel ban raises simmering regional tensions

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    Vatican Museum director Barbara Jatta, centre, stands outside the museum entrance to welcome back the first visitors on the museum’s reopening date (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

    Vatican Museum director Barbara Jatta, centre, stands outside the museum entrance to welcome back the first visitors on the museum’s reopening date (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

    AP/PA Images

    Vatican Museum director Barbara Jatta, centre, stands outside the museum entrance to welcome back the first visitors on the museum’s reopening date (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

    The decision by the Italian government to lift all restrictions on travel across the country from Wednesday has opened a rift among regional governors, who are worried that coronavirus infections will spread.

    Italy confirmed the date for allowing free movement between the regions, as it prepares to reopen its borders to international tourism next week.

    The decision, announced on Saturday by Health Minister Roberto Speranza, came after the government reviewed the latest regional data on infections, which were considered reassuring.

    Italy has been one of the countries worst hit globally by the pandemic, with the outbreak claiming more than 33,000 victims nationally, almost half of them in Lombardy, in the north.

    The rate of deaths and new infections, however, has slowed in recent weeks, persuading the government to confirm its plans to allow Italians to move freely between regions for vacations.

    But the different rates of infection around the country have resulted in tensions between the northern areas that were most seriously afflicted by the virus, such as Lombardy and Piedmont, and the southern ones, which have had far lower numbers of infections and rely heavily on tourism.


    21:55 01/06/2020

    Thailand races to create coronavirus vaccine, eyes possible medical tourism boost

    Momentum is building behind Thailand's push to create its own coronavirus vaccine, with more manpower and resources dedicated to the effort amid hopes it could boost medical tourism.

    Thai trials of an experimental vaccine using monkeys started last month, one of at least 100 potential vaccines being developed globally. The government is hopeful it will have a cost-effective vaccine ready for next year.

    Bionet-Asia, a local firm working with the government and a top Bangkok university, has put all other activities on hold and dedicated 250 personnel and all of its labs, technology and production facilities to developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

    "In the case of Covid, there is a global effort to speed up experiment, trials, to share information, share diagnostics and that's why we are in a position too, to move very fast," chief executive officer, Pham Hong Thai, told Reuters.

    He said tests on animals had so far shown encouraging results and the next step would be seeking government approval for clinical trials involving humans.


    21:35 01/06/2020

    Singapore rushes to build homes for 60,000 migrants after coronavirus outbreaks

    The Singapore government is racing to create additional housing for about 60,000 migrant workers by the end of this year, as it seeks to reduce the density in dormitories which have seen mass outbreaks of the coronavirus infection.

    The nation of 5.7 million people has more than 35,000 cases, one of the largest numbers in Asia, largely due to infections in cramped, bunk-bed accommodation that house more than 300,000 mostly South Asian workers.

    Singapore will create additional space through temporary structures that can be put together quickly in a modular form.

    It will also temporarily fit out unused state properties, such as former schools and vacant factories, the ministries of manpower and national development said on Monday.


    21:15 01/06/2020

    High stakes at play for all codes in racing's low-key return to summer of sport

    Mick Appleby trains the favourite in the first race of the UK resumption, but will not be at Newcastle to put the saddle on Stone Mason in the Betway Welcome Back Racing Handicap that will feel like the Derby when the stalls clang open.

    Last week, Appleby sent two runners to Jagersro in Sweden and has had to stay at home for 14 days. Behind the headlines in sport's return, there are thousands of human stories, all of them to do with survival, of the spirit and the finances.

    As horse racing and snooker answer the UK government's easing of restrictions from today, Appleby is the trainer most likely to win the first of Newcastle's heavily oversubscribed races. "It's not going to be a walk in the park," he said from his yard in Oakham, Rutland. "I'm surprised he's such a short price to be honest."

    Appleby was out of the blocks last week when he took Star Of Southwold and Mohareb to Malmo in Sweden. He says: "We drove up to Immingham and then got on a freight ferry. We were 18 hours on the ferry, but it was a good journey - the sea was pretty calm, and the horses travel better on the ferry than when you're driving.


    20:55 01/06/2020

    US awards new $628m (€565m) contract to boost output of potential COVID-19 vaccine

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    The race is on to find a vaccine for the coronavirus (David Cheskin/PA)

    The race is on to find a vaccine for the coronavirus (David Cheskin/PA)

    The race is on to find a vaccine for the coronavirus (David Cheskin/PA)

    The US government today entered into a $628m (€565m) contract with drugmaker Emergent BioSolutions to boost manufacturing capacity for a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

    As drugmakers race to develop vaccines, tests and therapies for the disease, the United States is looking to secure manufacturing capacity under its "Operation Warp Speed" program announced in May to accelerate vaccine development.

    "Securing more manufacturing capacity here in America for candidates that make it to the final stages of Operation Warp Speed will help get a vaccine to American patients without a day wasted," Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

    The HHS task order with Emergent falls under an existing contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a U.S. federal agency that funds disease-fighting technology.


    20:35 01/06/2020

    EU gives Uganda €178m to fund coronavirus response

    The European Union said on Monday it was giving Uganda €178m in credit and grants to fund its coronavirus response, including extending credit to small businesses hit by the economic crisis induced by the outbreak.

    The EU said the money would partly help finance Uganda's "immediate sanitary and humanitarian needs," such as obtaining personal protective equipment, infrared thermometers, mobile laboratories and test kits.

    The money would also "help mitigate the economic and social impact of the crisis, especially through supporting livelihoods and employment."

    Uganda has so far recorded a total 458 cases of Covid-19 and no deaths. For two months it implemented one of Africa's tightest lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus. That has left businesses in sectors such as hospitality, retail and education reeling and caused widespread joblessness.


    20:15 01/06/2020

    Opening weekend, top four showdowns and relegation fights - the matches that lie in wait as the Premier League returns

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    Liverpool's Adam Lallana and Everton's Richarlison jossle for possession. Both clubs are set to meet again on the opening weekend of the restarted Premier League. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble

    Liverpool's Adam Lallana and Everton's Richarlison jossle for possession. Both clubs are set to meet again on the opening weekend of the restarted Premier League. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble

    Action Images via Reuters

    Liverpool's Adam Lallana and Everton's Richarlison jossle for possession. Both clubs are set to meet again on the opening weekend of the restarted Premier League. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble


    Kevin Palmer

    It was a restart plan that appeared to be running out of steam just two weeks ago, but football is about to explode back into our lives in spectacular fashion.

    With English schools set to open their doors to students and most businesses set to start trading on June 15 as they look to find a way out of the Covid-19 crisis, the objectors to the resumption of the Premier League have been forced to abandon their efforts to get the season cancelled.

    Earlier this month, it seemed as if clubs in the bottom third of Premier League were preparing to block any attempt to reboot the Premier League, yet their efforts to remove the threat of relegation for this season have been extinguished.

    So now the clock is ticking towards the return of a Premier League season that still has so many unanswered questions, with the surreal sight of games being played in empty stadiums a small price to pay for a feast of football that will carry us through to the FA Cup final on August 1.


    19:55 01/06/2020

    Relatives queue to cremate coronavirus dead in India's capital

    A queue of ambulances formed outside the main crematorium in India's capital New Delhi today, as the number of deaths from the novel coronavirus continues to rise.

    Cases in the country crossed 190,000, the health ministry said on Monday, overtaking France to become seventh highest in the world, as the government eases back on most curbs after a two-month lockdown that left millions without work. There have been more than 5,000 deaths.

    At Nigambodh Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna River, relatives and staff said a shortage of medical professionals trained in handling the bodies of victims was leading to delays.

    Ash floated from the funeral pyres, adding to the heat of the Indian summer, where temperatures in Delhi have already reached 47C.

    19:35 01/06/2020

    Greek hotels reopen to an uncertain future

    Greece allowed year-round hotels to open on Monday, restarting its vital tourism sector hobbled by weeks of lockdown, although business remained quiet with international flights from its main airports only set to resume from June 15.

    With borders also still shut in key tourism markets, some hotels have pushed back their openings due to low reservations.

    "We got our jobs back, but there is stress and uncertainty over the future," Spyros Divanis, managing director of Divani Hotels, told Reuters.

    Only one seaside hotel in Athens of seven hotels in the chain opened on Monday. The rest will open depending on bookings, he said.

    Greece, which emerged from international bailout programmes in 2018, is banking on the lure of its rich culture and stunning landscapes for an economic recovery. Tourism accounts for about 20pc of national output.

    Having contained the spread of COVID-19 better than many European Union countries, Greece has been easing restrictions since May and is one of the destinations Ryanair have committed to flying to this summer.


    19:15 01/06/2020

    Virus boosts ideas of money for nothing, cheques for free

    Modern economies will change forever after the coronavirus pandemic if some radical thinkers get their way.

    Governments have cast aside dogma - such as Germany's 'black zero' balanced budgets - to protect firms and jobs in the deepest peacetime recession in nearly a century.

    And such moves as governments mailing cheques to citizens, as well as the UK government borrowing directly from the Bank of England, offer a glimpse of different ways of running things in the longer term.

    "Every crisis is an opportunity to rethink priorities," said Maria Demertzis, deputy director of the Bruegel think tank in Brussels. "The scale and the type of the crisis mean that, by definition, the tools we're operating under aren't sufficient."


    18:55 01/06/2020

    Swedish Prime Minister to appoint coronavirus inquiry before summer amid criticism

    Sweden will launch an inquiry into the country's handling of the pandemic before the summer, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a newspaper interview on Monday, amid growing criticism over nursing home deaths and the lack of testing.

    Lofven, whose Social Democrats rule in coalition with the Greens but also depend on backing from two centre-right parties, had previously said a commission would be appointed once the crisis was over but was under pressure to act sooner.

    "We need to take an overall approach to see how it has worked at national, regional and local levels," Lofven told Swedish daily Aftonbladet in an interview. "We will make a decision for a commission before the summer," he said.

    Sweden has taken a more liberal approach to combating the virus than its neighbours and has left most schools, restaurants and businesses open, relying on voluntary measures focused on good hygiene and social distancing to stem the outbreak.

    More than 4,000 people in Sweden, roughly half of them nursing home residents, have died in the pandemic, a per capita rate many times higher than in other Nordic countries, all of which imposed tighter restrictions.


    18:35 01/06/2020

    Dublin Zoo set to reopen

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    Dublin Zoo is set to open its doors again on Tuesday (Dublin Zoo/PA)

    Dublin Zoo is set to open its doors again on Tuesday (Dublin Zoo/PA)

    Dublin Zoo is set to open its doors again on Tuesday (Dublin Zoo/PA)

    Dublin Zoo will reopen on Tuesday to limited numbers.

    A maximum of 500 people will be permitted at any one time and strict social distancing measures will ensure the safety of visitors and staff, the director of the animal enclosure said.

    These include a one-way system and visits divided into two sessions per day, while the zoo will have less than 10% of its usual capacity.

    Hand sanitisers will be available and there will be signage reinforcing physical distancing, hand-hygiene and etiquette for coughing and sneezing.

    An enhanced cleaning regime has been implemented and all staff will be provided with and trained in the safe use of personal protective equipment.

    To ensure strict social distancing and meet new public health guidelines, internal animal houses and enclosed habitat viewing areas, retail units and playgrounds will remain closed.


    18:15 01/06/2020

    Job cuts: Emirates lays off pilots, crew

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    The state-owned airline, which has around 60,000 employees and is part of the Emirates Group, did not say how many staff had been affected by the job cuts.

    The state-owned airline, which has around 60,000 employees and is part of the Emirates Group, did not say how many staff had been affected by the job cuts.

    The state-owned airline, which has around 60,000 employees and is part of the Emirates Group, did not say how many staff had been affected by the job cuts.

    Emirates airline said yesterday it had made some staff redundant due to Covid-19 disruption, with two company sources saying trainee pilots and cabin crew had been affected.

    "We reviewed all possible scenarios to sustain our business operations, but have come to the conclusion that we unfortunately have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us," a spokeswoman said. "The company is doing everything possible to protect the workforce wherever we can."

    The state-owned airline, which has around 60,000 employees and is part of the Emirates Group, did not say how many staff had been affected by the job cuts.

    Emirates said on May 10 that a Dubai government commitment to provide it with "equity injections" would allow it to preserve its skilled workforce.


    18:05 01/06/2020

    No evidence that food poses Covid risk, expert says

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    There is no evidence that food poses a risk to public health through transmission of coronavirus, Russell Ramage said (Daera/PA)

    There is no evidence that food poses a risk to public health through transmission of coronavirus, Russell Ramage said (Daera/PA)

    There is no evidence that food poses a risk to public health through transmission of coronavirus, Russell Ramage said (Daera/PA)

    There is no evidence that food poses a risk to public health through transmission of coronavirus, an expert in Northern Ireland said.

    The main mode of transmission is considered to be from person to person via respiratory droplets from infected people via sneezes, coughs or generated through exhaling, the Department of Agriculture said.

    Food technologist Russell Ramage said safety remained paramount and stringent personal hygiene measures were in place at factories.

    He added: “Despite the large scale of the pandemic, the latest scientific literature, including that from the Food Standards Agency and the European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, note that, to date, there have been no reports of the transmission of Covid-19 via the consumption of food.

    “There is no evidence that food poses a risk to public health in relation to Covid-19.”


    17:55 01/06/2020

    First global survey to discover children’s experience of coronavirus launched in Belfast

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    SUN AND SEA: Niall Thornton and Vicki Hackett from Drogheda with their children Harley, Sienna and Kaci at Seapoint beach, Co Louth. Photo: David Conachy

    SUN AND SEA: Niall Thornton and Vicki Hackett from Drogheda with their children Harley, Sienna and Kaci at Seapoint beach, Co Louth. Photo: David Conachy

    SUN AND SEA: Niall Thornton and Vicki Hackett from Drogheda with their children Harley, Sienna and Kaci at Seapoint beach, Co Louth. Photo: David Conachy


    The first global survey of children’s experiences of life under coronavirus has been launched.

    Queen’s University Belfast is leading the research project aimed at young people aged between eight and 17 to get their views on the pandemic.

    It is aimed at finding out how they feel, whether they are able to learn and play, see their parents, stay in touch with their friends, if they can access reliable information and support, and if they are healthy and safe in these challenging times.

    The Queen’s research team has been collaborating with #Covidunder19 – a coalition of international NGOs and agencies, to develop and disseminate the survey.

    Principal investigator Dr Katrina Lloyd said the survey has been developed with children for children.

    “We hope that the responses we receive will be able to tell us how children have been coping during the pandemic and will be used for advocacy globally – ensuring that children’s views are placed at the heart of decision-making,” she said.


    17:35 01/06/2020

    Breakdown of latest figures

    Latest data from the HPSC, as of midnight on Saturday (24,985 cases), reveals:

    • 57pc are female and 43pc are male
    • The median age of confirmed cases is 48 years
    • 3,286 cases (13pc) have been hospitalised
    • Of those hospitalised, 408 cases have been admitted to ICU
    • 7,968 cases are associated with healthcare workers
    • Dublin has the highest number of cases at 12,052 (48pc of all cases) followed by Cork with 1,514 cases (6pc) and then Kildare with 1,417 cases (6pc)
    • Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 39pc, close contact accounts for 58pc, travel abroad accounts for 2pc


    17:30 01/06/2020

    Over 25,000 cases of Covid-19 now confirmed in Ireland

    The number of people who have been infected with Covid-19 has surpassed 25,000.

    One further coronavirus-related death was registered today in Ireland as 77 more people have tested positive for the virus.

    There is now a total of 25,062 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

    Validation of data at the HPSC has resulted in the denotification of three deaths.

    There has now been 1,650 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.

    Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health, commented: “We have now had more than 25,000 cases of Covid-19 in Ireland and while 90pc of patients have recovered, more than 3,285 people have been hospitalised and sadly 1,650 have died.

    “Covid-19 is a new disease, for which we have no vaccine and we have no cure.

    “As restrictions ease and we begin to resume social and economic life, we must do all we can to prevent a second wave.

    “It is vital that we continue to practice hand and cough hygiene and social distancing, with the additional hygiene measure of face coverings in appropriate settings.

    “It is important to give space to our vulnerable people when out and about.

    "We must continue to do all we can to interrupt the spread of this virus.”


    17:15 01/06/2020

    Fraud risk is heightened as criminals seek to exploit this changing economic climate

    Will O'Brien

    With Covid-19 disrupting business, fraudsters are targeting controls on existing processes which may not be functioning as designed due to remote working, employer distraction and operational or workforce disruption. These fraud patterns are continuing to evolve and need your ongoing attention.

    With this in mind, businesses should be asking:

    • Are they assessing these threats sufficiently, or are there gaps that leave their business exposed?

    • Are they re-evaluating the new fraud risks that have arisen due to new working arrangements?

    • Are they considering whether current policies are effective for employees operating from remote locations?

    • Are they taking the right action when an incident occurs?


    16:55 01/06/2020

    Hundreds of shoppers queue as Ikea Belfast reopens

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    IKEA in Belfast opens its door for the first time since the lockdown began, with hundreds of shoppers queuing to get in. Some had been queuing from before 8am
Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

    IKEA in Belfast opens its door for the first time since the lockdown began, with hundreds of shoppers queuing to get in. Some had been queuing from before 8am Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

    PA

    IKEA in Belfast opens its door for the first time since the lockdown began, with hundreds of shoppers queuing to get in. Some had been queuing from before 8am Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire


    Massive queues formed as home furnishings retailer Ikea opened its doors for the first time in months in Belfast.

    Social distance wardens patrolled the long queues that ran along the main road outside the store.

    People were allowed into the cavernous store in small numbers from 9am.

    Extra screens have been installed to protect staff. Wipes were available at pay points.

    The Stormont Executive announced recently that some large lower footfall or outdoor stores like garden centres could begin to reopen as part of the easing of lockdown

    Most non-essential retailers have been shuttered since March to inhibit the spread of coronavirus.


    16:35 01/06/2020

    Northern Ireland Covid-19 tracing programme designed for long term – Robin Swann

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    Rapid scale-up: Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann. Photo: David Young/PA Wire

    Rapid scale-up: Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann. Photo: David Young/PA Wire

    PA

    Rapid scale-up: Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann. Photo: David Young/PA Wire

    Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 tracing programme has been designed for the long term, health minister Robin Swann said.

    First Minister Arlene Foster last week said people were being recruited for up to two years to help stifle the spread of the coronavirus infection.

    Mr Swann said the current telephone-based service would play a “central” role.

    He said: “This is a major long-term programme, given the continuing threat from Covid-19 and the potential for local clusters and outbreaks of infection as we move out of the current phase of our response.

    “We will be scaling up the current contact tracing provision to include teams recruited directly to staff the operation.

    “This will include professionals such as nurses and environmental health officers for contact tracing with lead clinicians and health protection consultants advising on complex situations and local clusters or outbreaks.”


    16:15 01/06/2020

    Extra Covid-19 loans for micro firms relies on new government

    Shawn Pogatchnik

    Support for micro firms will be beefed up - but only after the next Government is formed.

    The Government said the Microenterprise Loan Fund Amendment Bill, published yesterday, would clear obstacles for greater take-up of the Microfinance Covid-19 Loan Fund launched on March 23.

    "Every effort has been made by my department to get this legislation drafted and published as quickly as possible," said Business Minister Heather Humphreys.

    "The legislation is now ready to go. I hope it can be enacted as quickly as possible once a new government is formed, so that businesses can get access to this vital liquidity."


    15:55 01/06/2020

    Primark to open all stores in England on June 15

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    A Primark store in Nottingham after the company shut its doors in the face of the pandemic (Tim Goode/PA)

    A Primark store in Nottingham after the company shut its doors in the face of the pandemic (Tim Goode/PA)

    PA

    A Primark store in Nottingham after the company shut its doors in the face of the pandemic (Tim Goode/PA)


    Fashion retailer Primark, named Penneys in Ireland where the company started, is working to re-open all its 153 stores in England on June 15, in line with the country's easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, its owner Associated British Foods said on Monday.

    All Primark stores were closed over a 12-day period from March 11 as the virus spread, resulting in a loss of sales of about 650 million pounds for every month that all stores were closed.

    As governments around Europe have begun to ease restrictions Primark has been able to re-open stores in those countries too.

    Primark is currently trading from 112 stores across Europe and the United States, representing 34pc of its total selling space. By June 15 it plans to have 281 stores open or 79pc of selling space, including all stores in England.


    15:35 01/06/2020

    Confirmations and communions to go ahead in late summer

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    Emma Purcell gets a communion card from her neighbour Liz Power. Pic:Mark Condren 24.5.2020

    Emma Purcell gets a communion card from her neighbour Liz Power. Pic:Mark Condren 24.5.2020

    Emma Purcell gets a communion card from her neighbour Liz Power. Pic:Mark Condren 24.5.2020


    Sarah Mac Donald

    Confirmations and communions postponed because of the pandemic will begin again from late summer, the Catholic Diocese of Limerick announced yesterday.

    The diocese has set up a special registration system to make sure all those who want to participate are included.

    And Bishop Brendan Leahy appealed to the families of children whose sacraments were cancelled to register at the earliest opportunity for the rescheduled ceremonies using the diocesan website.

    Speaking at St John's Cathedral in Limerick, Dr Leahy said the celebrations will be the same special sacramental rite of passage except for the numbers involved, in compliance with public health advice.


    15:15 01/06/2020

    Children likely to suffer depression and anxiety after lockdown, study concludes

    Children and young people are likely to experience high rates of depression and anxiety long after the lockdown ends, according to a review.

    The research draws on more than 60 pre-existing, peer-reviewed studies into topics spanning isolation, loneliness and mental health for young people aged between four and 21.

    It concludes that young people who are lonely might be as much as three times more likely to develop depression in the future, and that the impact of loneliness and mental health could last for at least nine years.

    Authors of the study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, said clinical services need to be prepared for a future spike in demand.

    The study comes as NHS England’s top doctor for children and young people’s mental health has urged parents to be alert to signs of anxiety, distress or low mood as some pupils return to school on Monday.


    13.14 01/06/2020

    Spread of fake news on social media 'leads to breaches of restrictions'

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    Stock image

    Stock image

    Stock image

    The spread of misinformation on social media can result in the public breaking the lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, a new study has found.

    The NUI Galway study also found that while social media networks can be useful for staying informed about the crisis, once users are "overloaded" with content, they are more likely to believe unverified information.

    Misinformation is defined as false information which is intended to deceive the public.

    The study, which focused on the triggers leading people to share misinformation online during the pandemic, was carried out by the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUIG.

    Hotels in Northern Ireland to reopen from July 20

    Michael McHugh, PA

    Northern Ireland's hotels can reopen from July 20 as long as the rate of infection is under control, Stormont economy minister Diane Dodds said.

    The industry has been devastated by a shutdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic in March.

    Mrs Dodds said: "Covid-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge for our tourism industry, as it has for tourism markets around the world.

    "I believe the time is right to provide the tourist accommodation sector with clarity about opening dates.

    "I want to build upon the positive progress in managing the spread of the virus and begin to reopen our tourism industry in a safe and managed way."

    The July 20 date covers guesthouses, guest accommodation, B&Bs, hotels and hostels.

    A tourism steering group will be asked to work with the sector to explore what facilities and amenities can safely be made available by hotels and recommendations will be brought to the Executive in due course.

    Holiday and home parks, caravan sites and self-catering properties are also covered by the July 20 date.

    Mrs Dodds said: "As they are self-contained and may require less advance notice before opening, the opening times for these types of accommodation may be advanced to earlier than July 20 depending on scientific advice."

    Northern Ireland Hotels Federation chief executive Janice Gault said it was a welcome move.

    She added: "This is a step forward for the industry and the federation has been working closely with industry colleagues to ensure that businesses can open in a safe and secure manner.

    "There is more work to be done around the details of opening."

    11.16 01/06/2020

    South Korea spike continues as fear over second surge increases

    Kelli Kennedy, Danica Kirka and Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press

    Protests around the US against police brutality have sparked fears of a further spread of Covid-19, while South Korea is reporting a steady rise in cases around the capital after appearing to bring the outbreak under control.

    The often-violent protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer, are raising fears of new virus outbreaks in a country that has more confirmed infections and deaths than any other.

    The protests come as more beaches, churches, mosques, schools and businesses reopen worldwide, increasing the risk of cross-infections.

    South Korea has reported 238 cases of coronavirus over the past five days, most of them in the Seoul metropolitan area, causing alarm in a country that had eased up on social distancing and started to send millions of children back to school.

    Hundreds of infections have been linked to nightspots, restaurants and a massive e-commerce warehouse near Seoul.

    The 35 new cases reported on Monday include 30 around Seoul.

    Huge jump in prices for puppies fuels rise in animals being smuggled out of country in dire conditions

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    Uncertain fate: Chihuahua cross Lady was found in the boot of a car at Dublin Port with her four puppies

    Uncertain fate: Chihuahua cross Lady was found in the boot of a car at Dublin Port with her four puppies

    Uncertain fate: Chihuahua cross Lady was found in the boot of a car at Dublin Port with her four puppies

    A massive rise in prices for puppies, especially in the UK, has meant an increase in animals being smuggled out of the country, often in dire conditions, writes Kathy Donaghy.

    10.26 01/06/2020

    Domestic abuse rises 25pc under lockdown

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    'Despite all the outward appearances Maria was desperately vulnerable. And her 'underlying condition?' Fear.' (stock photo)

    'Despite all the outward appearances Maria was desperately vulnerable. And her 'underlying condition?' Fear.' (stock photo)

    'Despite all the outward appearances Maria was desperately vulnerable. And her 'underlying condition?' Fear.' (stock photo)

    Almost 5,600 cases of domestic abuse have been recorded by gardaí in the past two months in a surge linked to Covid-19 restrictions on people's movements.

    Figures show they have dealt with 5,592 cases of individuals who have been the subject of domestic abuse since Operation Faoiseamh, the Garda's dedicated domestic violence operation during lockdown, was launched on April 1.

    The figure represents a 25pc increase on the number of domestic abuse incidents recorded by gardaí over the same period in 2019.

    Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said gardaí had placed significant focus on crimes against the vulnerable during the lockdown, particularly on victims of domestic violence.

    Australia relaxes lockdown further, intensifies economic recovery efforts

    Reuters

    Several Australian states eased social distancing restrictions further on Monday, allowing restaurants to host more people and public attractions to reopen, as the government moves to revive an ailing economy through accelerated infrastructure spending.

    Australia has recorded about 7,200 coronavirus cases and 103 deaths. And, with new infections now largely under control, the government has embarked on a three-step plan to remove the bulk of curbs by July.

    In Australia's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), a maximum of 50 people are now allowed to sit down for a meal in a cafe or restaurants, while 20 can attend a funeral. The previous limits were set at 10.

    Public attractions, such as art galleries, museums, and libraries and zoos were also allowed to reopen.

    While reopening public spaces for the first time in several months, authorities have said there will be limits on the number of people allowed to enter in a bid to ensure there is no second wave of infections.

    Each site will need to ensure a social distancing norm of 1.5 meters between visitors is observed at all time.

    In Victoria state, which has taken the most cautious approach to reopening, restaurants and cafes could reopen on Monday. However, patrons are restricted to a maximum of 20 people.

    09.23 01/06/2020

    From New Zealand to New York: Meet the Irish medics leading the global battle against coronavirus

    Key roles range from the World Health Organisation to heading New Zealand's virus response, reports Western Correspondent Eavan Murray

    'It's ludicrous women can get a tin of paint but not a lifesaving smear test,' says campaigning widower

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    Battle: The lives of Stephen Teap, his wife Irene and their sons Oscar and Noah changed forever when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in September 2015

    Battle: The lives of Stephen Teap, his wife Irene and their sons Oscar and Noah changed forever when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in September 2015

    Battle: The lives of Stephen Teap, his wife Irene and their sons Oscar and Noah changed forever when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in September 2015

    Health chiefs have been challenged to tackle the "ludicrous" situation in which women can go shopping but still cannot get a potentially lifesaving smear test.

    Stephen Teap, whose wife Irene died from cancer after two false negative smears, says health screenings that were paused because of the Covid-19 pandemic needs to be reinstated as soon as is safely possible.

    He says a proper roadmap needs to be put in place for it because cancer does not pause in the midst of a pandemic.

    "Nobody is questioning why they were paused, given what was going on, but it was paused without any plan on how it was going to reopen," said Mr Teap.

    08.35 01/06/2020

    Italy's end to travel ban raises simmering regional tensions

    The decision by the Italian government to lift all restrictions on travel across the country from Wednesday has opened a rift among regional governors, who are worried that coronavirus infections will spread.

    Italy confirmed the date for allowing free movement between the regions, as it prepares to reopen its borders to international tourism next week.

    The decision, announced on Saturday by Health Minister Roberto Speranza, came after the government reviewed the latest regional data on infections, which were considered reassuring.

    'I am a frontline worker, I got Covid-19 and I haven't seen my baby in two months'

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    Riadh Egan near her home in Letterkenny, Co Donegal. Photo: Joe Dunne

    Riadh Egan near her home in Letterkenny, Co Donegal. Photo: Joe Dunne

    Joe Dunne

    Riadh Egan near her home in Letterkenny, Co Donegal. Photo: Joe Dunne

    As the virus began to spread, asthmatic Riadh Egan made the tough the decision to send her 15-month-old daughter to her mother's house. Here, she talks to Liadán Hynes about her diagnosis, and how she is coping with nine weeks apart from her child

    07.10 01/06/2020

    'Rushing out of lockdown risks further mayhem and tragedy here'

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    Cautious: Dr Gabriel Scally said the minister’s proposal was ‘an interesting one’. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

    Cautious: Dr Gabriel Scally said the minister’s proposal was ‘an interesting one’. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

    Cautious: Dr Gabriel Scally said the minister’s proposal was ‘an interesting one’. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

    Ireland could risk "tragedy" with a resurgence of Covid-19 if the nation rushes to lift itself out of lockdown, Dr Gabriel Scally has warned.

    Ireland could risk "tragedy" with a resurgence of Covid-19 if the nation rushes to lift itself out of lockdown, Dr Gabriel Scally has warned.

    Dr Scally, author of the Scally report on the CervicalCheck scandal and member of the UK's independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies group (Sage), said that while he understood the necessity of getting Ireland back to work and school, there should be no return to normal life before Covid-19 figures "are down to zero cases".

    Rise in pension age back on cards due to cost of Covid-19

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    'Talking to PwC, Paschal Donohoe mentioned a small business just once.' Photo: PA

    'Talking to PwC, Paschal Donohoe mentioned a small business just once.' Photo: PA

    'Talking to PwC, Paschal Donohoe mentioned a small business just once.' Photo: PA

    Controversial changes to the pension qualification age, raising it to 67 years next December, are now expected to go ahead - despite a range of General Election promises this would not happen, writes political correspondent John Downing.

    Tensions continue in the UK over lockdown easing as pupils begin returning to school

    PA

    Pupils will begin to return to school and families will be reunited on Monday as major changes are made to lockdown restrictions.

    It is part of a wider easing of measures that will also see groups of up to six people allowed to meet in public places or private gardens and outdoor markets and car show rooms reopen.

    But Government leaders have stressed social distancing measures must stay in place, particularly staying two metres apart from someone outside your household.

    It comes as several scientists have criticised the move suggesting it is too early to lift restrictions and could cause coronavirus infections to rapidly rise again.

    Ministers insist the time is right to ease the lockdown because the Government has met its five tests to do so and the rate of infection, or R value, has been consistently below one.

    The new rules allow for families and friends to meet up for picnics and barbecues and travel freely around the country, so long as they do not stay anywhere overnight that is not their primary home.

    Online Editors