There are now 1,063 confirmed Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland
377 further cases have been confirmed
Independent.ie's live blog is here to keep you informed of what's going on in Ireland and across the world during the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of deaths from the coronavirus among residents in a HSE-run nursing in north Dublin has risen to 21.
The tragic toll at St Mary’s Hospital in the Phoenix Park in Dublin was confirmed today.
It has been badly hit by an outbreak of the infection.
Although the spotlight has been mainly on private nursing homes, this death toll also shows it impact on public facilities which have more staff.
THE HSE will be able to carry out 100,000 tests for Covid-19 every week under a plan to be published in the coming days, Health Minister Simon Harris has said.
Mr Harris said the executive will publish a plan to ramp up testing and “arrive at a point where we would have the capacity to do up to 100,000 tests a week should that need arise”.
He said at present the HSE has the capacity to process up to 10,000 tests a day, but said this does not mean that that number of tests is being carried out. HSE chief executive Paul Reid and senior management will map out how “over the next couple of weeks, you ramp that up to maybe 12,000 and 13,000 and then 15,000”, the minister said.
Another 52 people with Covid-19 have died in Ireland according to the latest figures released this evening.
The National Public Health Emergency Team said it has been notified of 377 new confirmed cases.
The figures, which include cases up to lunch time today, mean there have now been 1,063 deaths linked to the virus in Ireland.
There have been 18,561 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Officials said the HSE is now working on contact tracing with the new cases to identify if patients may have passed the virus to other people.
Further data released by NPHET shows community transmission accounts for 48pc of new cases. This means patients have contracted the virus from a person they do not know.
Data released by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre today, including cases up to midnight last Thursday, shows almost 5,000 healthcare workers have been affected.
Dublin account for half of the country's cases. Cork is the second worst affected county but only accounts for 6pc of the nationwide total number of cases.
The UK has become the fifth country to pass 20,000 deaths in hospital from Covid-19, behind the US, Italy, Spain and France.
The US hit the 20,000 mark on April 11, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Italy reached 20,000 on April 13, Spain on April 18 and France on April 20.
The figures for each country are problematic to compare as each government has its own counting criteria.
Instead, Saturday’s figures can be seen as a symbolic milestone, as it proves the British government has definitively missed its best case scenario of deaths of 20,000 or below.
In reality, deaths in the UK from coronavirus probably topped 20,000 several days ago.
The figure does not include deaths in care homes, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates could account for half of all deaths in Europe.
Dr Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia and adviser to the WHO, warned that the UK was on course to having one of the highest Covid-19 mortality rates in Europe.
He told the PA news agency: “Our deaths are increasing more rapidly than any other country really apart from the US.
“But the US is still a long way behind us in terms of deaths per one million of the population.”
A Dublin publican is helping his customers get through the coronavirus lockdown by delivering freshly poured pints and cocktails to their door.
Richard Grainger, who owns family-run Graingers Hanlons Corner, is delivering customers' favourite tipples to their homes.
Mr Grainger, who was forced to shut the doors to his pub a few days before St Patrick's Day, said he had been inundated with orders for the dial-a-pint service.
The idea for the doorstep service emerged as staff said goodbye to their customers in March.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a tragedy that has already killed thousands around the globe. Governments, on the advice of medical staff and with the support of their citizens, have ordered a lockdown to slow the transmission of the virus. This measure, the only one possible in the absence of systematic testing, has been effective in reducing the death toll. Confinement as a temporary emergency measure made sense to “flatten the curve”.
Some countries have started to lift the lockdown but according to a recent Harvard study, it may be necessary to have periods of confinement until 2022. Maybe now is the time to calmly review the situation and discuss the merits of a prolonged confinement in the context of all of society, including future generations.
During the lockdown, countries are reportedly functioning at 60pc of their capacity. According to the European Commission, this translates into a reduction of 10pc in gross domestic product (GDP) for the eurozone for 2020. In comparison, eurozone GDP only shrank by 4.5pc in the last major financial crisis in 2009.
Imagine a world in which a global network of medical professionals monitored for emerging strains of a contagious virus, periodically updated an established formula for vaccinating against it, and then made that information available to companies and countries around the world. Moreover, imagine if this work was done without any intellectual-property (IP) considerations, and without pharmaceutical monopolies exploiting a desperate public to maximise their profits.
This may sound like a utopian fantasy, but it is actually a description of how the flu vaccine has been produced for the past 50 years. Through the World Health Organisation's Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS), experts from around the world convene twice a year to analyse and discuss the latest data on emerging flu strains, and to decide which strains should be included in each year's vaccine.
As a network of laboratories spanning 110 countries, funded almost entirely by governments (and partly by foundations), GISRS epitomises what Amy Kapczynski of Yale Law School calls "open science".
Twin sisters who had both worked as nurses have died within three days of each other after both testing positive for Covid-19.
Children's nurse Katy Davis, 37, died at Southampton General Hospital on Tuesday while her identical twin, Emma, a former surgery nurse, died early on Friday.
The two sisters, who both suffered from an underlying health condition, have been praised for their excellent work in the nursing profession.
Their sister Zoe Davis told the BBC: "They always said they had come into the world together and would go out together as well.
"There are no words to describe how special they were."
Hundreds of people who live in Poland and work in Germany protested on Friday evening in the southwestern Polish border town of Zgorzelec against a mandatory coronavirus quarantine for those who cross the border.
Poland was one of the first European Union states to close borders due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus. It also imposed a mandatory two-week lockdown for those who enter its territory - a major jolt for those who live their lives in between two EU states.
The protest was staged on a foot bridge connecting Zgorzelec and the German town of Gorlitz, which functioned as one town before the borders were closed.
"I've been trapped at home for six weeks, can't cross the border, go to work. I can't go back to my students," said Mirella Binkiewicz, a teacher living in Zgorzelec and working in Gorlitz.
Around 300 people gathered at the Polish side and some 100 at the German, some wearing face masks. The two groups were separated by a provisional metal fence that has been erected in the middle of the bridge to prevent people from crossing the border.
Banks are tightening the criteria for mortgages over fears of sharp house price falls and because so many people have suffered income shocks.
Several lenders will no longer allow exemptions from Central Bank lending rules, a move that is likely to hit first-time buyers hard.
One in five mortgage borrowers was granted exemptions in 2018, but now banks are suspending these types of loan.
The move will raise greater concern for the supply of homes, if it prompts builders in turn to scale back plans.
The World Health Organisation has warned against the idea of “immunity passports” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
It said there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected against a second infection.
The concept of “immunity passports” or “risk-free certificates” has been floated as a way of allowing people protected against reinfection to return to work.
But the Geneva-based UN health agency said in a scientific brief published on Saturday that more research is needed.
The coronavirus has claimed the lives of five healthcare workers across the health service, it emerged yesterday.
The virus has also resulted in the deaths of 576 people living in community residential settings, including 488 residents of nursing homes.
The fatalities involve confirmed and probable deaths - among residents who were not tested - in people in residential homes.
They are among 1,014 tragic deaths from the virus in the State, marking a significant landmark in the numbers succumbing to the disease since the crisis began.
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has said the global Covid-19 pandemic is his “worst nightmare”, while promising to assist the process of manufacturing vaccines.
In an interview with The Times, the billionaire said that he had been concerned about the impact of a vial pandemic for years.
Mr Gates, formerly the richest man in the world, has previously warned about the world’s need to prepare for global health crises.
“My worst nightmare has come true,” he said.
In a Ted Talk in 2015, Mr Gates reflected on the 2014 Ebola outbreak and said global societies were not ready for a future epidemic, urging countries to prepare supplies and expertise.
A former Dublin lord mayor was questioned by gardaí who were investigating a suspected 'lock-in' at a city pub as part of an alleged breach of coronavirus regulations.
Last night, Councillor Nial Ring completely denied "any wrongdoing" and commended gardaí for the "professional and polite" way they handled matters.
He insisted there had been no breach of Covid-19 rules.
The incident under investigation by Fitzgibbon Street gardaí began at around 11pm last Friday when officers observed three men outside The Ref Pub in Ballybough in the north inner city.
Gardaí tried to gain entry to the pub by knocking on the shutters for a period of time before a man who they understood to be the owner let them in.
Australians and New Zealanders marked Anzac Day from outside their homes as memorial ceremonies and marches were hit by the pandemic.
The annual day of remembrance for the countries’ war dead is traditionally the year’s largest trans-Tasman event but the ongoing crisis meant large gatherings were not possible.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern kicked off proceedings with an Instagram post showing a wreath outside her residence in Wellington, as well as her and fiance Clarke Gayford standing with her father, Ross Ardern.
Ms Ardern wrote: “On my street one of our neighbours played the service through a small speaker while we all stood apart but together… A different, but still a really special Anzac Day. Lest we forget.”
Her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison kept things brief, simply tweeting a photograph of himself with wife Jenny at the Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra with the caption “Lest We Forget”.
Every time Aoife Kiernan starts a shift, the battle begins. She puts on a set of gloves first, then another set on top of those. Next, over her mouth and nose, she carefully attaches a FFP2 mask, a special grade respirator that filters airborne particles.
A full-length protective gown is next to go on over her clothes, followed by an apron, a hair net and, finally, a face visor.
Ready and armed, the 26-year-old takes a deep breath, opens the door, and steps on to the frontline.
"When you're going into a room where someone has Covid, it's a very daunting moment," Aoife told Independent.ie.
For the first time, President Donald Trump cut off his daily coronavirus task force briefing on Friday without taking any questions from reporters.
The briefings often stretch well beyond an hour and feature combative exchanges between Mr Trump and reporters.
The president was angry after a day of punishing headlines on Friday, largely about his comment at the previous evening’s briefing wondering if it would be helpful to inject disinfectant into people to fight the coronavirus.
That idea drew loud warnings from health experts who said the idea was dangerous and sharp criticism from Democrats.
Mr Trump did answer questions from reporters earlier on Friday and claimed that his suggestion about disinfectant had been "sarcastic."
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has opened up about contracting coronavirus and said that the illness "floored" her.
Speaking on The Late Late Show last night, she said that she had never "experienced anything like it".
"It literally floored me, I never experienced anything like it.
"I have never been as sick as I was with it, every part of me hurt, it hurt to open my eyes, my eye sockets ached.
Cases of the new coronavirus are overwhelming hospitals, morgues and cemeteries across Brazil as the country veers closer to becoming one of the world’s pandemic hot spots.
Medical officials in Rio de Janeiro and at least four other major cities have warned that their hospital systems are on the verge of collapse, or are already too overwhelmed to take any more patients.
Health experts expect the number of infections in the country of 211 million people will be much higher than what has been reported because of insufficient, delayed testing.
Meanwhile, President Jair Bolsonaro has shown no sign of wavering from his insistence that Covid-19 is a relatively minor disease and that broad social-distancing measures are not needed to stop it.
Cancelled ladies' days at the races, no Dublin Horse Show and no mothers of the bride ordering bespoke hats.
It's a tough time for the country's milliners who have seen the lifeblood of their profession, the big, dress-up occasion, vanish this summer.
The Punchestown Festival, due to start on Tuesday, would have been the kick-off of the racing summer finery, followed by another 12 ladies' days during June and July and a further seven for August and September.
The cancellation of the jewel in the crown on the best dressed circuit - Ladies' Day at the Dublin Horse Show at the RDS - shows why milliners are fit to cry into their ostrich feathers and colourful crinoline straw.