Follow the latest coronavirus news in Ireland and across the world on the Independent.ie live blog.
Dublin family said they are overjoyed that their “warrior” grandmother (94) has finally come home from hospital today after a six week battle with coronavirus.
Máire Walsh from Templeogue, who last spent a night in hospital when she gave birth to her fourth child 56 years ago, was hospitalised on April 3 after testing positive for Covid-19.
With four children and ten grandchildren, her family is delighted she has beaten the virus and came home today from St Michael’s Hospital in Dún Laoghaire after two negative tests.
Garda overtime has been cut across the country as the organisation continues to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, Independent.ie has learned.
The policing of Covid-19 checkpoints and Irish ports are expected to be among the areas impacted by the cutbacks.
Senior management have ordered that no further overtime will be sanctioned with "immediate effect" for supplementing units and working rests days.
Turkish teenagers have been allowed to leave their homes for the first time in 42 days, as their turn has come for a few hours of respite from coronavirus lockdowns.
Turks aged 65 and over, and under 20, have been subjected to a curfew for the past several weeks.
This week, the government began allowing them to go outdoors for a few hours as part of a programme of reduced controls.
On Friday, youths aged between 15 and 20 filled parks and main streets and were seen queuing outside shopping centres as the curfew was lifted between 11.00am and 3.00pm.
Some played basketball or football or flew kites in parks, local media reported.
Wexford residents have expressed concern about the disregard for social distancing measures after more than 100 mourners gathered outside the cathedral in Enniscorthy town for a funeral
The Requiem Mass of the late Jero Connors was held at St Aidan’s Cathedral on Friday morning.
With funeral services meant to be limited to less than 10 people during the Covid crisis, as per Government guidelines, locals questioned why so many people were allowed to attend the service.
“You read stories about people having to watch loved ones being buried through a phone as they’re not allowed to attend, and yet it seems to be one rule for some, and another rule for others,” one local said.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have also issued an alert regarding PIMS.
PIMS is a rare paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome.
Some 230 suspect cases have been identified across Europe with two deaths and further cases in the US. Seven children thus far are being investigated in Ireland in relation to the disease. The ECDC has advised increased awareness.
Dr Tony Holohan said that this is an unusual condition in children, where there may be 15 cases per 100,000.
16 more people with coronavirus have died, the Department of Health has said.
The total number of confirmed deaths from the virus in Ireland is 1,518.
A further 129 new confirmed cases have also been announced, bringing the total confirmed number of cases in the Republic to 23,956.
An additional four deaths have been included in the figures, due to further validation of data.
Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, as of midnight, Wednesday 13th May (23,627 cases), reveals:
· 57pc are female and 42pc are male
· the median age of confirmed cases is 48 years
· 3,062 cases (13pc) have been hospitalised
· Of those hospitalised, 387 cases have been admitted to ICU
· 7,427 cases are associated with healthcare workers
· Dublin has the highest number of cases at 11,557 (49pc of all cases) followed by Kildare with 1,352 cases (6pc) and then Cork with 1,256 cases (5pc)
· Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 60pc, close contact accounts for 37pc, travel abroad accounts for 3pc
Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland
IRELAND can start to slowly reopen on Monday after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the battle against Covid-19 is going to plan.
He said the movement into ‘Phase One’ of the roadmap to reopening was “reason to hope but it’s not cause for celebration”
“We have a long way to go yet. There will be bumps in the road and we have to keep our guard up,” he said.
The new message from the Government is to stay at home except for one of these five reasons:
All your questions about face masks answered.
Why are face masks set to become an even more common sight from today?
There's a growing consensus that covering our mouths and noses could be an important weapon in our battle against Covid-19.
All this week, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has been discussing face masks in advance of Ireland moving to step one of a five-stage exit from lockdown come Monday.
Immunologist Prof. Luke O'Neill and Consultant in infectious diseases Dr. Eoin Feeney give their insight into how effective face masks are and how to wear them properly. The use of face masks have been shown to decrease transmission when worn and applied correctly.
Live updates from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at a press conference on easing lockdown restrictions at government buildings:
Business Minister Heather Humphreys said:
Advice from Health Minister Simon Harris:
Information from the Q+A session:
It could take nearly two years to clear a backlog of postponed surgeries, including operations on cancer patients, which has built up in Irish hospitals due to the coronavirus crisis, according to a major study published today.
The study estimates a backlog of 16,419 surgeries has arisen over 12 weeks as hospitals ordered mass cancellations in a bid to concentrate on coronavirus patients.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham estimate that more than 28 million elective surgeries across the globe could be cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The modelling study, published in the 'British Journal of Surgery', indicates that each additional week of disruption to hospital services will be associated with a further 2.4 million cancellations.
A US government whistleblower says that America faces the 'darkest winter in modern history' as he testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Primary school pupils will only be able to return to school part-time in autumn if current social distancing and other public health restrictions are in place, teachers and school managers warn.
After months of closure, with parents struggling to keep learning going at home and children feeling the loss of school, it is a bleak scenario.
But key education stakeholders raised the spectre of schools reopening with reduced numbers at any one time, and individual pupils returning on a half day, day on/off, half week on/half week off or week on/week off basis.
The gloomy picture emerges in separate documents prepared by the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) and the Catholic Primary School Management Association (CPSMA) for contingency planning discussions around reopening of the education system.
Those talks kicked off for the primary sector - which has 3,200 schools and more than 600,000 pupils, teachers and other staff - this week.
Uncertainty caused by Covid-19 means those who were about to buy a home will be wondering whether that's a bad idea right now. If property prices fall, then negative equity beckons.
First off, note that asking prices haven't fallen at all thus far. There is no evidence of price cuts in transactions recently completed.
The first reaction of vendors in a crisis is to sit on their hands, not to lower prices.
In the big crash, it took six months before the first vendors cut their asking prices in response to prevailing conditions and no sales.
Right now, the industry is almost shut down. The pause button has been pressed.
People expect the lifting of social distancing restrictions to be slow and gradual, with most indoor social activities not possible until at least September, according to new research.
The restrictions survey found that most people also believe that the lifting of restrictions should prioritise necessities ahead of leisure activities.
The findings are based on data collected the week before Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the roadmap to opening society and businesses on May 1.
The study found no evidence that a substantial proportion of the public expected a more rapid lifting of restrictions.
The impact of the pandemic on jobs in Ireland is one the largest in the European Union, far outstripping the impact in richer northern European countries, according to a new study.
The research from the European Commission comes as the Government edges towards a staged relaxation of tough lockdown rules which have worked to contain the spread of coronavirus but which have hit the economy hard, with a million workers now depending on the State for income.
"The sectors that are marked as non-essential and even explicitly closed because of the high contagion risk they involve account for less than 10pc of overall EU employment, but here the variation is much more significant: whereas in Spain, Greece or Ireland it accounts for more than 13pc, in Romania, Poland, Belgium or even Germany it is around or below 8pc," the report said.
The figure for Ireland is 12.67pc of the workforce, the fifth highest level in the EU.
A probe is under way into why a hospital failed to report well over 200 positive cases of the coronavirus diagnosed since mid-March until yesterday - causing a big jump in newly diagnosed figures just days before Monday's easing of lockdown.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said he was only informed yesterday of the large batch of cases from the hospital, which he did not name.
It comes as two more healthcare workers have died, bringing their death toll to seven.
The delayed reporting from the hospital led to a total of 426 new cases being reported yesterday - much higher than in recent days.
The summer’s rugby union international schedule, including England’s tour of Japan, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
World Rugby announced on Friday that all fixtures in July would be called off due to Covid-19, meaning Eddie Jones’ men will not return to the scene of last year’s World Cup, where they reached the final.
The widespread postponements mean Wales’ one-Test mission in Japan is also off, as are their two Tests in New Zealand, with Scotland’s trip to South Africa and New Zealand, and Ireland’s to Australia also removed from the schedule.
Europe should brace itself for a second deadly wave of coronavirus because the pandemic is not over, the World Health Organisation's top official on the continent has warned.
Dr Hans Kluge, director for the WHO European region, delivered a stark warning to countries beginning to ease their lockdown restrictions, saying that now is the "time for preparation, not celebration".
Dr Kluge stressed that, as the number of cases of Covid-19 in countries such as the UK, France and Italy was beginning to fall, it did not mean the pandemic was coming to an end. The centre of the European outbreak is now in the east, with the number of cases rising in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, he warned.
Countries should use this time wisely and start to strengthen public health systems as well as building capacity in hospitals, primary care and intensive care units, he said.
He had asked them to sing and dance at his funeral, and that is how they said goodbye to Chief Messias Kokama on Thursday.
They sang the Brazilian national anthem in Tikuna, one of the 14 indigenous languages spoken in their ramshackle settlement on the outskirts of Manaus where 2,500 descendants of 35 different Amazon tribes live.
Chief Kokama, of the Kokama tribe, was 53 and died on Wednesday of respiratory collapse and other complications from COVID-19 after a week in the main hospital of Manaus, Brazil's largest city in the Amazon rainforest.
The soaring number of coronavirus cases has overwhelmed the hospitals in Manaus, and the dead are being buried in collective graves at funerals attended by no more than two relatives.
As the leader of the settlement called Parque das Tribos, municipal authorities made an exception to allow his community to gather to pay homage to Kokama after a wake.
It was not the homecoming he expected.
After being more or less alone at sea since November, while completing an epic solo journey from Norway on a homemade boat in a nod to Viking mythology, Rathfarnham chef Darragh Carroll was stunned to see harbour police and gardaí greeting his arrival at Howth pier yesterday.
Despite having the necessary documentation to disembark, he hadn't anticipated the pier would be effectively in lockdown due to Covid-19 - with strict restrictions in place for anyone arriving at the port.
His father David Carroll (58), mother Eunice (55) and brother Cillian (21) were all at the port looking forward to their much-anticipated family reunion.
But instead they spent an anxious few hours worried that Darragh would be refused entry and forced back out to sea..
China's air quality saw "incomparable" improvements in the first quarter of this year as a coronavirus outbreak led to rapid declines in industrial activity and transportation, an environment ministry official said on Friday.
The number of "blue sky days" rose by 6.6 percentage points in the first quarter of 2020, said Liu Bingjiang, head of the air pollution office at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
"That was a level we didn't even dare imagine," he said, noting the target for the whole 2016-2020 period was 3.3 percentage points.
China has for several months been grappling with a coronavirus outbreak, which has spread around the world and infected more than 4 million people, forcing governments to impose strict lockdowns, severely hurting economic activity.
With millions staying home, concentrations of small lung-damaging floating particles fell by nearly 15pc in more than 300 Chinese cities in the first three months of the year, according to official ministry data.
Emissions in the city of Shanghai fell by nearly 20pc in the first quarter while Beijing's average emissions levels stood still in the first three months of the year, the data showed.
Pressure is mounting on insurers FBD after one of Ireland’s most famous pubs became the latest business to issue High Court proceedings against the company.
Sean’s Bar in Athlone, Co Westmeath is taking action against FBD over its refusal to pay out for business interruption claims during the Covid-19 crisis.
Dublin bar Lemon & Duke, which is co-owned by Irish rugby stars Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip, and Rob and Dave Kearney, also initiated legal proceedings against the insurer this week.
Additionally, a senior publican has hit out at the company after FBD provided a written statement earlier this year, seen by Independent.ie, guaranteeing his policy covered coronavirus. However, it is now refusing to pay out.
Meanwhile, the owners of a family-run bar and restaurant have made an official complaint to the financial ombudsman after FBD refused to pay out on a business interruption claim – despite their policy explicitly covering infectious diseases.
Restaurants, cafes and bars in Australia's most populous state were reopening on Friday after a two-month shutdown under coronavirus lockdown measures, boosting the federal government's bid to get people back in work and the economy back on track.
The easing of quarantine measures in New South Wales (NSW) state comes just a day after the national statistics office reported unprecedented record high job losses and Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned that worse was still to come.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian cautioned people to remain vigilant and maintain social distancing as restaurants, public pools and other businesses reopen under the proviso they limit customers to 10 at any one time.
Meanwhile, the Slovenian government called an official end to its coronavirus epidemic, becoming the first European country to do so, after authorities confirmed less than seven new coronavirus cases each day for the past two weeks.
People now arriving in Slovenia from other European Union states will no longer be obliged to go into a quarantine for at least seven days as was the case from early April, the government said in a statement.
The country of 2 million people, which borders Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, has so far reported 1,464 coronavirus cases and 103 deaths. It declared an epidemic on March 12.
Fresh coronavirus outbreaks are testing public health networks and the resolve of planners to reopen from pandemic shutdowns.
Japan has pushed ahead with relaxing its state of emergency in most regions, not including Tokyo, Osaka and a few other districts.
In the Philippines, fears of spreading the virus complicated efforts to evacuate tens of thousands of people ahead of a typhoon that swept through overnight without causing major damage.
There was good news from China, where the virus first appeared and where no deaths have been reported in a month. The country confirmed four new cases linked to previous ones in Jilin, in the northeast.
With more than 1.4 million infections and nearly 85,000 deaths, the US has the largest outbreak in the world by far, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 4.4 million and killed over 300,000. Experts say the actual numbers are probably far higher.
Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 4.4 million people.
British manufacturers think it will take longer to recover from the economic impact of Covid-19 than just a couple of weeks ago, according to an industry survey on Friday.
Three-quarters do not think business will be back to normal within six months, and 36pc think it will take more than a year - twice the proportion two weeks ago, trade body Make UK said.
"It's clear that it is going to be a long road back to anything like normal trading conditions and, despite the lockdown beginning to be lifted, there will be a significant impact on companies and jobs for some time to come," Make UK's chief executive, Stephen Phipson, said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday that workplaces such as factories and building sites that had not been told to close due to the coronavirus should resume operations where it was safe to do so.
Philly McMahon is the latest high-profile GAA player to express scepticism about the value of playing inter-county matches in empty grounds.
In an interview for McSport, the Dublin defender insisted: "Inter-county football is obviously very little without crowds and fans. That's what makes the inter-county scene."
Behind-closed-doors games is not an option currently being explored at central GAA level, although it is a potential jump-off point for the resumption of organised sport.
And, as McMahon also pointed out, it may be the only viable option other than sitting idle awaiting the discovery of a vaccine for coronavirus.
State's treasury has borrowed €1.5bn to help cover the skyrocketing deficit amid record unemployment and emergency Covid-19 spending.
The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) yesterday issued €850m in bonds due for redemption in 2029 and €650m more maturing in 2050.
Both offerings were oversubscribed by institutional investors seeking low-risk debt securities - though at a moderately higher cost to the State than when 2029 bonds were last auctioned on the eve of Ireland's lockdown.
The nine-year bonds offered yields, or interest payouts, barely above zero - just 0.043pc. This was the first time since July 2019 that the NTMA's auction of that benchmark 2029 debt security merited a yield above the zero threshold.
Yields offered to investors to take the 30-year bonds were higher - 0.79pc - reflecting greater perceived risk of default at some point between now and 2050.
US President Donald Trump has vowed to prepare for future pandemics by replenishing the national stockpile and bringing manufacturing of critical supplies and equipment back to the US.
His comments came the same day a whistleblower told Congress the Trump administration had failed to properly prepare for the current pandemic.
“Wouldn’t that be nice?” Mr Trump said during a visit to a Pennsylvania distributor of medical equipment. “My goal is to produce everything America needs for ourselves and then export to the world, including medicines.”
Mr Trump had complained about supply chains in a television interview that aired before he left Washington for the trip to Owens and Minor Inc. in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
It was Mr Trump’s second trip outside Washington in as many weeks as he tries to convince the public it is time for states to begin to open up again, even with the virus still spreading.
Four million girls are at risk of child marriage in the next two years because of the new coronavirus pandemic, a global charity said on Friday, as campaigners warned that the crisis could undo decades of work to end the practice.
Deepening poverty caused by the loss of livelihoods is likely to drive many families to marry off their daughters early, World Vision said.
"When you have any crisis like a conflict, disaster or pandemic rates of child marriage go up," the charity's child marriage expert Erica Hall told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"If we don't start thinking about how to prevent it now it will be too late. We can't wait for the health crisis to pass first."
Campaigners said the risks were exacerbated by the fact that schools were closed and organisations working to combat child marriage were finding it harder to operate during lockdowns.
The pandemic is also making it more difficult for girls to access reproductive health services which could lead to a rise in teenage pregnancies and increased pressure to marry.
Philip Ryan and Tom Brady
Groups of four people living within a 5km radius of each other will be permitted to meet up outside once a day from Monday.
Those meeting up will be required to adhere to social distancing guidelines and stay two metres from those they are with.
People will also be told not to take advantage of the easing of restrictions and warned they can only meet up with small groups of friends and relatives once a day.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) yesterday agreed to move into phase one of the plan to reopen the country.
The federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned US doctors about a serious rare inflammatory condition in children linked with the coronavirus.
In an alert issued on Thursday, the CDC called the condition multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children.
The agency’s case definition includes current or recent Covid-19 infection or exposure to the virus, a fever of at least 100.4F (38C) for at least 24 hours, severe illness requiring hospital admission, inflammatory markers in blood tests, and evidence of problems affecting at least two organs that could include the heart, kidneys, lungs, skin or other nervous system.
The name and definition are similar to those used in Europe, where the condition was first reported several weeks ago.
The condition has been reported in at least 110 New York children and in several in other states, with several children having died.
A strong typhoon has hit the Philippines after authorities evacuated tens of thousands of people while trying to avoid the coronavirus risks of overcrowding emergency shelters.
The first typhoon to hit the country this year rapidly gained force as it blew from the Pacific then barged ashore in San Policarpio town in Eastern Samar province around noon local time, weather agency administrator Vicente Malano said.
The typhoon came as the Philippines is trying to fight Covid-19 outbreaks largely by locking Filipinos in their homes and prohibiting gatherings that can set off infections. More than 11,600 infections, including 772 deaths, have been reported in the country.
Typhoon Vongfong, which has maximum sustained winds of 93 miles per hour and gusts of up to 115 mph, was forecast to blow northwestward and barrel across densely populated eastern provinces and cities before exiting in the north on Sunday.
Young people are more likely to experience poor mental health during the coronavirus lockdown than older adults, new research claims.
A survey of almost 5,000 UK adults by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) found that indicators of low mood and wellbeing were “amplified” in young people during the pandemic.
Its research found that 70pc of 18 to 24-year-olds had felt anxious about the future more often than normal, compared with 47pc of over-75s.
Meanwhile, 62pc of the same younger age group reported feeling lonely more frequently, compared with 21pc of those aged 65 to 74.