Follow the latest coronavirus news in Ireland and across the world on the Independent.ie live blog.
A Limerick grandmother who survived Covid-19 at the age of 89 has become a “TikTok sensation” on her road to recovery.
Jenny Howell has been bringing a smile to the faces of staff at Ennis Road Care Facility in Meelick, Co Clare with her enthusiasm for the video-sharing app.
Ms Howell, a “devoted Daniel O’Donnell fan”, was diagnosed with Covid-19 in April.
Back in her heyday, the mother-of-three was a lover of dance and has been rediscovering her moves while recovering from coronavirus.
Covid-19 could cost Irish farmers up to €1.6 billion in terms of reduced incomes this year Teagasc has warned.
Beef farms are the most exposed to the impact of the pandemic, with incomes potentially collapsing by almost 80pc should factory prices for cattle drop back by 20pc.
However, all sectors are likely to be hit, according to Teagasc’s economists, with incomes from dairy, sheep and tillage falling by between 40pc and 60pc in the worst case scenario, and the overall hit to the wider sector being at least €0.7 billion.
The beef industry is directly in the firing line of the pandemic. Teagasc forecast that the recent downturn in beef demand could see average family farm income from cattle rearing fall to just €2,085 if beef prices fall 20pc.
The traditional pub as we know could be changed for the foroseeable future - journalist Laura Lynott spoke to publicans for a glimpse into what a night at the pub could look like when they finally reopen:
Aer Lingus employees are to be told next week of additional cuts to pay and working hours as well as redundancies.
The airline’s chief executive, Sean Doyle, told staff in a video message today that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a “crippling” effect on the carrier, which is part of the IAG group that also owns British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Level.
He said that today, Aer Lingus will carry just 939 passengers. On Friday of this week last year, it carried 18,361.
“As you are all too well aware, we are now in th deepest downturn that the aviation industry has ever experienced,” he said.
Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, as of midnight, Wednesday 20th May (24,351 cases), reveals:
· 57pc are female and 43opc are male
· the median age of confirmed cases is 48 years
· 3,194 cases (13pc) have been hospitalised
· Of those hospitalised, 393 cases have been admitted to ICU
· 7,791 cases are associated with healthcare workers
· Dublin has the highest number of cases at 11,794 (48pc of all cases) followed by Cork with 1,398 cases (6pc) and then Kildare with 1,383 cases (6pc)
· Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 60pc, close contact accounts for 37pc, travel abroad accounts for 3pc
A coronavirus vaccine is “not a certainty”, according to the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.
This comes after medical journal The Lancet reported today that the first clinical trial of a potential vaccine for Covid-19 jab found it to be safe, well-tolerated, and able to generate an immune response against the infection.
Promising results were reported after 28 days, but the final results will be evaluated in six months.
However, at this evening’s department of health press briefing, Dr Holohan said that the jab has been successful in very early stages of testing and its production cannot be held as a “certainty”.
Passengers who refuse to tell authorities where they are quarantining for two weeks after arriving in Ireland face six months in prison or a €2,500 fine.
The Cabinet today agreed to make it mandatory for everyone arriving in Ireland to fill in a passenger location form outlining where they will be self-isolating for a fortnight after their arrival.
The new regulations will come into force next week on May 28 and be reviewed on June 18.
The regulations will mean gardai will be able to check up on passengers who filled out the form.
11 more deaths linked to Covid-19 have been announced by the Department of Health this evening.
There have now been 1,592 coronavirus related deaths in Ireland.
115 further cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 24,506.
Gabija Gataveckaite reports
Health Minister Simon Harris has confirmed that people coming into the county from overseas will have to fill out a form stating their reasons for travel and contact details.
The form will follow a "system of follow up checks", including "swift contact tracing" and it will be mandatory to fill in the form.
It is still advised to avoid all non-essential travel overseas and those who come into the country are "strongly advised" to self-isolate for 14 days. Spot checks may take place to ensure the passengers are self-isolating.
The Public Health Passenger Locator Form will come into place next Thursday and it will be an offence not to fill in the form, which will request the name, address, reason for travel and a way of contact for each passenger.
It will be in place until June 18.
Minister Harris said: “The Form will be used to facilitate a system of follow up checks to make sure people who travel to the country are staying where they said that they would. The Form will also ensure more accurate and quicker contact tracing, should we have a confirmed case on a flight or ferry coming into Ireland.
"Every measure we take is aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 and protecting people from this virus. This is no different."
If the form is not completed or if the wrong information is given, the offence may be punishable by a fine of up to €2,500 or imprisonment for six months, or both.
This will happen if:
- there is failure to complete and give the form to a relevant person
- Providing information that to the person’s knowledge is false or misleading (whether on the form, when presenting the form, or in subsequent follow-up checks)
- Failure to provide further information to a relevant person upon request (who suspects that the form has not been completed properly)
- Failure to update residence or contact details if they change within 14 days of arrival into the State.
Passengers transiting to another jurisdiction, certified international transport workers, air and maritime pilot/masters and crew, will not have to complete the form. Individuals from Northern Ireland will have to fill out a portion of the form.
Jane Kirby, PA Health Editor reports
The drug hydroxychloroquine offers no benefit to patients hospitalised with Covid-19, according to a new study in The Lancet.
Experts found that hydroxychloroquine - and a related medicine chloroquine - was linked to an increased risk of death and heart arrhythmias among people severely ill in hospital with coronavirus.
US President Donald Trump has been criticised after he said he had nothing to lose by taking hydroxychloroquine, which is used to treat malaria and arthritis, despite warnings it could be unsafe.
The authors of the new study said neither drug should be used to treat Covid-19 outside of clinical trials and said randomised clinical trials were needed.
Earlier this week it was announced that a trial to see whether the drugs could prevent Covid-19 had begun in Brighton and Oxford.
Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine or a placebo will be given to more than 40,000 healthcare workers from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.
The Lancet study analysed data from almost 15,000 patients with Covid-19 receiving the drugs and 81,000 people who did not.
The health service is to start testing people for antibodies to see if they have had the coronavirus next month - our Health Correspondent Eilish O'Regan answers the biggest questions:
Education Editor Katherine Donnelly reports
The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) has agreed to engage with the Leaving Cert calculated grades process after getting further clarification on the State indemnity.
It clears the way for its members to start the process of providing estimated marks for their students, as an alternative to sitting written exams.
It will bring relief for up to 61,000 Leaving Cert candidates who are depending on calculated grades to move on with their lives, including the thousands who will use them as a basic for college entry in the autumn.
Direct provision centres that have had outbreaks of Covid-19 will not be inspected "at this time", the Department of Justice has said.
TDs have called for the State to investigate the standards of asylum-seeker accommodation following the outbreak of 23 cases at a hotel in Kerry.
Asylum seekers, locals and politicians have called for the Skellig Star Hotel in Cahersiveen, which was recently turned into a direct provision centre, to be closed down.
A chief constable has issued a “don’t be an idiot” warning ahead of the bank holiday weekend after his officers were forced to break up a 100-strong street party.
Footage of people gathering in Handsworth, Birmingham, on Wednesday night, with one reveller asking officers if Covid-19 was real, has been released by West Midlands Police.
Hopes for a vaccine against the coronavirus soared today after the first clinical trial of a potential jab found it to be safe, well-tolerated, and able to generate an immune response against the infection.
The research, just published in the Lancet, revealed the findings after testing the vaccine on 108 healthy adults.
It demonstrated promising results after 28 days—the final results will be evaluated in six months.
Further trials are needed to tell whether the immune response it elicits effectively protects against coronavirus.
Aine McMahon, PA
Those aged over 65 make up 90pc of Covid-19 related deaths, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
The CSO published a detailed breakdown of Covid-19 deaths and cases in Ireland on Friday.
It found almost 92% of Covid-19 deaths were among the over 65s up to May 15.
This older age group also accounted for more than 26% of all confirmed cases of the virus.
Lori Hinnant, Sheikh Saaliq and David Biller, Associated Press
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated across Latin America, Russia and the Indian subcontinent even as curves flattened and reopening was under way in much of Europe, Asia and the US.
Many governments say they have to shift their focus to saving jobs that are vanishing as quickly as the virus can spread. In the US and China, the world’s two largest economies, unemployment is soaring.
The US Federal Reserve chairman has estimated that up to one American in four could be jobless, while in China analysts estimate around a third of the urban workforce is unemployed.
But the virus is roaring through countries ill-equipped to handle the pandemic, which many scientists fear will cause a second global wave.
Some 101 people classed as extremely obese have been hospitalised with coronavirus, 63 of whom had to be treated in intensive care, a new analysis reveals.
The report looked at the pre-existing conditions of 16,064 people who contracted the virus up to the middle of this month.
Overall, 230 of those diagnosed with the infection were reported to have a body mass index (BMI) over 40, which is classed as extremely obese.
Dublin is facing a major transport headache as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted over the coming months, unless many workers continue to stay at home.
City authorities are banking on a doubling of the numbers walking to work, and a tripling of cyclists to ease the problems associated with social distancing on public transport.
But even then, the city will only have transport solutions for 75pc of people who normally commute into or through the city centre, leaving around 54,000 people stranded.
Independent.ie Business Desk
Britain's government borrowed more than it has done in any month on record in April, pushing up a measure of public debt to close to 100pc of economic output, and retail sales fell by a record 18pc as the coronavirus crisis hammered the economy.
April's borrowing at £62.1bn was six times higher than in the same month last year and March's figure was revised up sharply to nearly £15bn as the government's emergency job retention scheme kicked in.
Joe McDonald, Associated Press
China’s top economic official on Friday promised higher spending to revive its pandemic-stricken economy and curb surging job losses but steered clear of launching a massive stimulus on the scale of the United States.
Premier Li Keqiang, in a speech to legislators, said Beijing would set no economic growth target, usually a closely watched feature of government plans, in order to focus on fighting the outbreak.
The battle against the virus “has not yet come to an end,” Mr Li warned.
Catherine Fegan and Cormac McQuinn
Nursing homes are being asked to accept patients from acute hospitals without a negative swab for coronavirus.
In the absence of a swab to show the hospital transfers have tested negative, the homes are being advised "wherever possible" to isolate the patients in a single room for two weeks.
In correspondence seen by the Irish Independent, a consultant in one Dublin Hospital told a colleague to inform nursing home operators that negative swabs are only required for "post-Covid patients".
As few as 50,000 people - just 1pc of the population - may have been infected by the coronavirus, leaving the nation with low immunity and at risk of a second wave if rules are not followed.
The warning was issued yesterday by Prof Philip Nolan of Maynooth University who is leading a team tracking the spread of the virus in the Republic.
Another 12 deaths and 76 cases of the virus were announced yesterday, showing the spread of the infection is continuing to fall.