Latest news updates for March 22nd 2020
18.41 - Figures:
A male patient in the east of the country is now the fourth covid-19 patient to die in the Republic.
121 more people have tested positive in the last 24 hours, bringing the total infected here to 906.
Data just released also reveals 17 people were in intensive care at the start of the weekend.
The HSE is currently working on testing a backlog of 40,000 people.
Anne O'Connor is with the executive - she is encouraging people to be patient over the next couple of days:
18.10 - Breaking News:
A fourth person has died from coronavirus in Ireland.
121 new cases confimed.
There are 16 patients in Westmeath with the illness, 9 in Offaly
Six people have been diagnosed in Laois.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been informed that a patient diagnosed with Covid-19 in Ireland has died. The patient is a male, in the east of the country, with an underlying health condition.
There have now been four Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has also been informed of 121 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, as at 1:00pm, Sunday 22 March.
There are now 906 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.
The HSE is now working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.
Today’s data from HPSC, as of midnight, Friday 20 March (712 cases), reveals;
· Of the 712 cases notified, 55% are male and 44% are female, with 35 clusters involving 190 cases
· The median age of confirmed cases is 44 years
· 211 cases (30%) have been hospitalised
· Of those hospitalised, 17 cases have been admitted to ICU
· 159 cases (22%) are associated with healthcare workers
· Dublin has the highest number of cases at 402, (56% of all cases) followed by Cork with 101 cases (14%)
· There is now at least one confirmed case of Covid-19 in every county in Ireland
Of those for whom transmission status is known, community transmission accounts for 44%, close contact accounts for 23% and travel abroad accounts for 33%.
Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said; “I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of the patient who died today.
“Cases confirmed today were most likely exposed to Covid-19 prior to the introduction of the public health measures implemented on Friday, 13 March.
“It is vital that everyone complies with the public health advice on hand and cough hygiene, working from home where possible and practising social distancing of 2 metres.
“Public health doctors carrying out contact tracing are advising that confirmed cases are now reporting fewer contacts, which is an encouraging sign that people are following the public health guidance.
“I would like to acknowledge the efforts of everyone adhering to public health advice. You are actively helping flatten the curve and limit the spread of Covid-19.
“Anyone waiting to be tested should act as though their test is positive and should self-isolate now, while they await testing and results.”
Minister Considering Closing OPW Car Parks https://t.co/7vIWVEFDBG— Midlands103 (@Midlands103) March 22, 2020
17.50 - UK:
The total number of coronavirus-related deaths across the UK is now 281.
That's up by 48 in the past 24 hours.
The British Prime Minister says people in Britain must follow the social-distancing advice when outdoors.
Speaking in Downing Street, Boris Johnson says those who don't are putting others lives at risk:
17.42 - Elderly:
Meanwhile, the HSE says it's heard of elderly and vulnerable people refusing to allow carers to enter their homes.
Anne O'Connor from the executive says they have got all the guidelines and training:
17.18 - Cancer:
Counselling services must not be interrupted despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
That's according to the Irish Cancer Society, which has begun to fund remote sessions for patients and family.
It's had to cancel all face-to-face appointments because of Covid-19.
Head of Services Donal Buggy explains what happens when you call them:.
17.02 - Testing:
More than 40,000 people are waiting to be tested for Covid-19 - which the HSE says it is trying to work through.
It says it may take up to five days for people to be checked - but is reassuring people by saying more testing centres are being opened in the next couple of days.
The HSE says 60,000 testing kits will be in the country by Thursday and 100,000 a week after that.
CEO Paul Reid says people will be treated as per their need:
16.54 - Hairdressing:
Hairstylists and beauticians say they're coming under pressure from clients to do home visits.
The Irish Hairdressers Federation says 95% of it's members have closed their salons, because it's impossible for stylists to provide a proper service while maintaining social distancing rules.
However, the Federation says people anxious about keeping up appearances should stop putting pressure on stylists.
Director of the Black Amber Group of hair salons Liam Kennedy says there are other safer ways to maintain your hair until stylists are safe to go back to work:
16.42 - Jobs:
Hundreds of extra temporary jobs are on offer at one of Ireland's biggest retail companies.
Musgrave Group, in partnership with Super Valu and Centra, needs to hire people with experience in the sector.
Its spokesperson, Edel Clancy, says the company is reaching out to representative organisations whose members may be temporarily out of work:
16.19 - Spain:
Another 394 people have died from coronavirus in Spain, where the death toll has climbed to 1,720.
The country's Prime Minister has warned the "worst is yet to come" and is extending the lockdown for another two weeks.
The number of cases around the world has now topped 300 thousand.
DCU lecturer Eoin O'Malley is in the south of Spain with his family, and says severe restrictions are in place:
15.23 - North:
A second person has died as a result of Covid 19 in the Northern Ireland.
The patient was elderly and had an underlying medical condition.
Latest figures show 20 new cases were confirmed there in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number to 128.
14.55 - Sinn Fein:
The Sinn Féin leader says government should move to shut down more businesses to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Mary Lou McDonald says if employers can't effectively manage social distancing and hygiene measures they should shut up shop.
She says there's a double standard emerging on the advice being given out:
14.40 - Exams:
The Department of Education says it's working on contingency plans in case they have to postpone the state exams over the coronavirus.
However, the department stresses government's still focused on running both the Junior and Leaving Cert exams in June.
It says all schools should continue to plan lessons and provide online resources where possible.
They've also been asked to prioritise classes preparing students for the state exams.
14.31 - Flights:
Emirates says its suspending all passenger flights from Wednesday, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline, which operates a number of routes from Dublin, has described it as a "painful but pragmatic" decision, which aims to protect jobs.
The company's chief executive says they "cannot viably operate passenger services until countries re-open their borders, and travel confidence returns".
Cargo services will continue.
14.12 - Tesing:
The HSE is working to clear a backlog of more than 40,000 people waiting to be tested for Covid-19.
32 testing centres are open, with more to be added in the coming days including drive-in facilities at GAA grounds.
785 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the Republic so far - including 147 healthcare workers.
CEO of the HSE Paul Reid has given an update on the testing kits that are due to arrive in the next couple of days:
Dr Sarah Doyle is Specialist in Public Health Medicine with the HSE.
She says people should be prepared, if they become a confirmed case, in helping contact tracing teams:
13.53 - Wales:
The Welsh First Minister says if people don't follow social distancing advice the government will "have no choice but to use powers" to enforce it.
Mark Drakeford insists it's "absolutely essential" people in the country avoid all but essential travel to delay the spread of coronavirus.
Seven more people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 in Wales.
13.27 - Beauty:
The beauty industry has slammed salons who have remained open during the coronavirus crisis.
The Irish Hairdressers Federation says 95 per cent of it 400 members have closed, but there are still a small number that are continuing to take appointments.
It's calling on the government to compel salons to close, as they cannot provide a proper service without putting people at risk.
Director of the Black Amber Group of hair salons Liam Kennedy says the salons that remain open are being reckless.
Spain has extended its state of emergency for another 15 days.
The country has recorded 3-thousand-600 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, bringing the total number diagnosed to more than 28-thousand.
It's the second worst-hit country in Europe, after Italy, with more than 17-hundred deaths.
DCU lecturer Eoin O’Malley is on lockdown in the south of Spain - and says normal life has been put on hold.
12.07 - Hospitals:
The HSE plan to spend 240 million euro on Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers.
The Executive usually spends 15 million a year on the clothing.
Doctors have raised concern at the widespread shortage of personal protective equipment for frontline health workers.
CEO, Paul Reid says they are placing more orders:
12.00 - Testing:
More than 40,000 people are waiting to be tested for coronavirus.
The HSE says they're beginning to work through the backlog when 50 test centres across the country open in the next couple of days.
785 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the country - including 147 healthcare workers.
Anne O'Connor is from the HSE - she says they are working to get through the waiting list:
11.46 - Hairdresser:
The Irish Hairdressers Federation is calling on the government to compel salons to close during the coronavirus crisis.
It says almost all of its 400 members have closed, but there are still a small number that are continuing to take appointments.
The Federation says salons have tried a number of ways to remain open but are finding it impossible to cut or colour hair while maintaining social distancing rules.
Beauty therapists are also urging people against buying dangerous injectables online while clinics are closed.
Only trained medical professionals are qualified to carry out these treatments, that can easily go wrong.
Gardaí say many posts on social media about pubs being open last night have been found to be fake.
They spent the night inspecting hundreds of pubs in the Dublin area.
Members of the force found every one to be complying with the closure order.
An Garda Síochána's urging the public to direct all complaints towards their local Garda Station, and not online.
11.02 - Whatsapp:
The Health Minister is going to start recording WhatsApp voice notes to combat the spread of fake news about coronavirus.
The Business Post reports the government is concerned hoaxes on the messaging app are undermining efforts to stop the spread of Covid 19.
Simon Harris will reportedly record the short messages in the hope of accurate information being shared.
Thought carefully about sharing this. It’s pretty blunt but it’s blunt, honest communication we need. Please watch & retweet. We, all of us, not anyone else, will decide through our actions what happens next. Please do this. Please save lives #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/iIHctC6D6X— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) March 22, 2020
10.36 - Equipment:
The Irish Hospital Consultants Association's warning of the widespread shortage of personal protective equipment for frontline health workers.
According to the Business Post, the group's President, Dr Donal O'Hanlon, has written to the Health Minister detailing doctors concerns.
He says there are reports of large shortages of respirator masks and some surgical masks and gowns provided aren't of appropriate quality.
A shipment of medical equipment was due last week, however that has now been delayed by two weeks, according to the HSE.
A further seven patients who'd been diagnosed with Covid-19 have died in Wales - taking the total to 12.
The chief medical officer says all of them had either underlying health conditions, or were over 70.
It's believed as many as one in three people with no symptoms of Covid-19 are infectious, according to the latest research in the journal Nature.
Dr. Gabriel Fitzpatrick, Medical Director of Trinity Clinics, says that's why it's so important people follow the advice of health authorities:
10.12 - Glendalough:
Wicklow County Council says it's closed the Upper Car Park at Glendalough until further notice due to social distancing concerns.
Thousands have visited the area since the start of the crisis with criticism on social media of pictures of groups gathered around food stalls.
The county council says all the food stalls are also now closed as a result.
09.58 - Global:
The number of coronavirus cases around the world has now topped 300 thousand.
In Italy, where almost 5 thousand people have died, strict new measures have been imposed in Lombardy.
Sport and physical activity has been banned, and all non-essential factories told to close.
India, meanwhile, has asked over a billion people to observe a curfew.
The World Health Organisation says it could take up to a year before a vaccine for coronavirus is available.
One vaccine trial is underway in the United States while some other vaccines will enter trial phase next week.
09.36 - Mother's Day:
The HSE says we should keep our mothers safe this Mother's Day by keeping our distance.
102 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed last night, bringing the total in the Republic to 785.
Health Minister Simon Harris says people should keep their distance if they're celebrating Mother's Day.
But HSE public health specialist Dr Breda Smyth says that doesn't mean we can't show our appreciation:
08.49 - US Jails:
At least 38 people have tested positive for coronavirus in New York City jails - including at the notorious Rikers Island complex.
On Friday, the city's Department of Corrections said just one inmate had been diagnosed, along with seven jail staff.
More than two million people are behind bars in the US - more than anywhere in the world.
08.23 - Italy:
After Italy recorded almost 800 deaths in one day yesterday, Russia's military will start sending medical help to the country from today.
Italy is one of the world's hardest-hit countries, with more than 53-thousand cases - and almost 5-thousand people have died.
Last night, strict new measures were introduced in the Lombardy region in an effort to tackle the spread.
Sport, physical activity and even the use of vending machines is banned.
07.47 - North Korea:
Donald Trump has sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - offering cooperation in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Kim's sister - Yo Jong - has praised Mr Trump for sending the letter at a time of “big difficulties and challenges."
North Korea has repeatedly said there hasn’t been a single case of the virus - which is being questioned by foreign experts.
07.05 - Pubs:
Health Minister Simon Harris says he'll use emergency powers to shut down any pubs that keep trading if they don't shut voluntarily.
Independent Councillor Ken O'Flynn says he's seen too many pubs trading in Cork in the last week.
He says publican's behaviour during the pandemic should be considered when their licence is up for renewal:
06.30 - Mother's Day:
There are now 785 people with coronavirus in Ireland.
The National Public Health Emergency Team says there are 102 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Republic.
Community transmission accounts for 42% of cases, close contact makes up 23% and travel abroad accounts for 35%.
On Mother's Day - Health Minister Simon Harris has this advice for people:
06.00 - Homeless:
Inner City Helping Homeless says the Housing Minister's comments this evening have done nothing to reassure homeless people are that they are a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eoghan Murphy said there's a plan to secure facilities across the country for self-isolation for homeless people that can be used if required.
However, Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn has slammed the Minister's plan as completely inadequate.
He says hostels are still filled to capacity and its outreach teams are helping up to 90 people a night sleeping rough on the streets.
The organisation's been supporting families all week in emergency accommodation who feel abandoned with no real guidance or support.