Coronavirus: Eight More Deaths Confirmed

Latest news updates for 30th March 2020.

19.00 - Latest figures: 

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been informed that 8 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ireland have died.

· 6 deaths located in the east, 1 in the south and 1 in the west of the country.

· The patients included 5 females and 3 males.

· The median age of today’s reported deaths is 86.

· 6 patients were reported as having underlying health conditions.

There have now been 54 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has been informed of 295 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland, as at 1pm, Monday 30 March.

There are now 2,910 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland - 118 cases are in the midlands.

70 are in Westmeath, with 34 in Offaly, while Laois has 14 people with the illness. 

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, Saturday 28th March (2,475 cases), reveals:

· 50% are male and 49% are female, with 111 clusters involving 428 cases

· the median age of confirmed cases is 47 years

· 645 cases (26%) have been hospitalised

· Of those hospitalised, 84 cases have been admitted to ICU

· 578 cases (23%) are associated with healthcare workers

· Dublin has the highest number of cases at 1,393 (56% of all cases) followed by Cork with 217 cases (9%)

· Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 50%, close contact accounts for 27%, travel abroad accounts for 23%

Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said; “We are beginning to see encouraging signs in our efforts to flatten the curve. However, we cannot become complacent as we are still seeing new cases and more ICU admissions every day.

“Our strategy remains the implementation of public health restrictions to interrupt the spread of the virus and prevent people from arriving to ICU in first place.”

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG), said; “We know what an unmitigated epidemic looks like, we are not on that track.

“The model reveals that before restrictions were in place, daily growth rate of confirmed cases was at 33%. This has fallen in recent days to around 15%. But it is still growing and needs to fall further.

18.44 - Alone:

The charity Alone says it is receiving more than 1,100 calls in one day after elderly people were asked to cocoon.

Anyone above the age of 70 are among those who have been asked to stay in their homes and minimise their social interactions with other people throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 5,000 people have called the national helpline number that is ran by Alone and the HSE since it was set up.

18.00 - National Children's Hospital:

The Health Minister has refused to say whether he thinks construction work should stop at the site of the new National Children's Hospital.

Most construction work across the country has stopped except at the sites building healthcare units to tackle the Coronavirus crisis. 

Photos emerged today of work continuing at the site of the National Children's Hospital. 

Health Minister Simon Harris would not be drawn on whether he thinks the site should close:

17.50 - Private hospitals:

The government says it can't confirm how much the public takeover of private hospitals will cost. 

A three month deal has been reached that will see 500 private hospital consultants offered locum contracts for public work.

It will mean private hospitals will perform public only treatment for the next three months - adding roughly 2,000 beds to the country's capacity.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it's a positive step - adding it was a partnership rather than a takeover:

17.45 - Supplies:

An Aer Lingus flight, which had to make an emergency landing earlier, is now on its way to China to collect Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers.

The aircraft had originally taken off from Dublin Airport this morning, but was forced to return following a bird strike.

Engineers assessed and repaired the damage upon arrival with officials allocating a new departure time.

The flight took off for the second time today shortly after 5pm.

17.30 - RTE:

Ryan Tubridy has tested positive for the Coronavirus.  

The RTE Presenter says he was fortunate to have had a very unintrusive experience which he has now come to the end of.  

He says he is doing well at home and hopes to be back at work soon. 

RTE says pla

  • ns for this Friday's Late Late show will be issued in the coming days.  

    17.20 - Dunnes Stores:

    Staff at Dunnes Stores are to receive extra pay as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Supermarkets have been dealing with extra footfall since the first social distancing restrictions were introduced.

    The Irish retailer will pay a 10 per cent premium to workers backdated to March 9th, according to Mandate trade union.

    An increased staff discount has also been agreed, while the union says it appears the company has agreed to a COVID-19 sick pay scheme.

    17.15 - An Post:

    Pensions can be collected up to 90 days after they are paid at the country's post offices.

    An Post is moving to reassure customers who may have to cocoon or self isolate during the current crisis.

    A person can be nominated to collect the payment on their behalf, using the appropriate form, which is available on  line or at post offices.

    Head of Corporate Communications at An Post, Anna Mc Hugh says customers should not worry about collecting their pension: 

    17.05 - Peru:

    Over 130 Irish citizens who were stranded in Peru have arrived home. 

    A repatriation flight from Lima landed in London's Heathrow this morning, while a connecting Aer Lingus flight brought the passengers back to Dublin Airport this afternoon.

    Peru closed its borders two weeks ago due to covid-19, meaning the Irish government had to seek diplomatic approval to rescue them.

    The Irish citizens must now self-isolate for 14 days.

    Maureen Daly from Dublin was at Dublin Airport to welcome home her daughter, who had been travelling in South America:

    16.50 - Central Bank:

    The Central Bank has confirmed people's credit record won't be impacted by any payment break on their loan or mortgage repayments.

    It follows an agreement earlier this month between the country's five main banks to freeze the repayments of customers financially impacted by Covid-19.

    Anyone seeking to avail of the payment break should contact their bank directly.

    CEO of the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland, Brian Hayes, has welcomed the announcement:

    16.45 - Private sector:

    The Health Minister says the private sector wants the country's health capacity to be increased.

    Simon Harris says there are also more consultants available through the agreement:

    16.20 - Economy:

    Ireland's economy may not contract as sharply as other countries, according to leading international economists.

    An OECD report suggests the impact of the Coronvirus crisis will be less severe here than other economies.

    It forecasts a 15 per cent reduction for Ireland, compared to 35 per cent for Greece and 29 per cent in Germany.

    The UK could see its economy shrink by a quarter.

    Dan O'Brien is the Chief economist at the Institute of International and European Affairs.

    He says there are a number of key industries in Ireland that will remain in demand: 

    15.55 - UK:

    Britain's NHS says another 159 people have died in England after testing positive for Covid-19.

    There were also 14 more deaths in Wales and 6 in Scotland. 

    Screening programmes for breast cancer and a number of other conditions have been suspended in Scotland because of the coronavirus outbreak.

    15.40 - Peru:

    A flight carrying over 130 Irish citizens stranded in Peru has landed at Dublin airport.

    Peru's borders were closed two weeks ago over coronavirus, so the Irish government had to seek diplomatic approval to rescue them.

    A flight from Lima landed in London this morning, while a connecting Aer Lingus flight from Heathrow brought the citizens home just before 3 O'Clock this afternoon.

    They'll now self-isolate for 14 days. 

    These passengers say they're relieved to be home:

    15.20 - NCT:

    The validity of drivers' licences and NCT certs will be extended after testing facilities were closed.

    Existing documents will remain valid for those who cannot get their tests done in the coming weeks.

    Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach Liz Canavan says they're finalising details for those who have had tests cancelled:

    15.15 - Dunnes Stores:

    Dunnes Stores workers are to be paid a 10% premium backdated to March 9th.

    It follows similar measures in other supermarkets since the Covid 19 emergency started.

    Mandate Trade Union says an increased staff discount has also been agreed.

    The Union also says it appears the company have agreed to a COVID-19 sick pay scheme.

    15.00 - Nursing Homes:

    The National Public Health Emergency Team will discuss measures nursing homes should consider implementing during the coronavirus pandemic when it meets tomorrow.

    Health Minister Simon Harris has assured that Nursing Homes will remain a key priority, following a meeting with the sectors representative group today.

    There are now 22 cluster cases of the coronavirus in nursing homes nationwide, with 20 of those in the East and the remaining two in the North East.

    CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland Tadhg Daly says it’s taking too long to test staff for Covid 19 which is leading to shortages.

    14.50 - HSE:

    A new walk in Covid19 testing facility is opening later this week in the handball centre on Dublin's Sackville Avenue.

    The HSE says as the number of people living in north Dublin who require testing is growing, it's expanding its testing capacity to meet this need and ensure that people get timely access to tests.  

    Testing is by appointment only and is arranged through a GP.

    Croke Park continues to have both a drive-in and a walk-in facility to check people for the virus.

    14.40 - Aer Lingus:

    A flight, which was due to collect personal protective equipment for healthcare workers in China, has had to return to Dublin Airport due to a bird strike.

    The birds hit the Aer Lingus Flight as it was about to take off at 10:50 this morning.

    Emergency services met the aircraft when it landed back in Dublin Airport, with engineers now assessing the damage.

    Officials will allocate a new departure time when engineers clear the plane to travel.

    14.30 - Health:

    The Health Minister is meeting with Nursing Homes Ireland this afternoon to discuss the number of coronavirus cases among the elderly.

    There are now 22 cluster cases of the coronavirus in nursing homes nationwide.

    20 are in the East and two are in the North East.

    CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland Tadhg Daly says it’s taking too long to test staff for Covid 19 which is leading to shortages.

    14.20 - Age Action:

    Age Action is appealing to the elderly to follow the government's advice to reduce the spread of Covid-19. 

    People over 70 or those who are medically vulnerable are being urged to stay indoors for the next two weeks. 

    Local task forces are working to get food and essential supplies to those who need them most. 

    CEO of Age Action, Paddy Connolly, says its vital people listen to the experts:

    14.15 - Dail:

    Sinn Féin has called for the Dáil to continue to sit during the Coronavirus crisis.

    TD Pearse Doherty says it's essential there's proper scrutiny of the emergency laws the government has passed. 

    A Dáil sitting is currently scheduled for Thursday - but there's no formal business on the agenda.

    14.10 - Northern Ireland

    Anorther person's died in the North from Covid -19.

    It brings to 22, the total number of people in Northern Ireland who have died as a result of the disease.

    123 new cases have also been confirmed since yesterday.

    The Public Health Agency says the total number of cases in the North now stands at 533.

    14.05 - Travel:

    A flight with over 130 Irish citizens who were stranded in Peru has landed at Dublin airport. 

    The country closed its borders two weeks ago due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Irish government had to seek diplomatic approval to rescue them.

    The British Airways flight from Lima landed at London's Heathrow Airport this morning. 

    Liz Canavan, assistant secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach, thanked the Peruvian authorities for their help:

    13.45 - Ryanair:

    Ryanair has extended its limited schedule of flights out to Thursday April 9th.

    More than 90 per cent of the airline's fleet has been grounded due to the coronavirus.

    It is operating a number of limited flights for the next 10 days for emergency reasons.

    Ryanair says all of its aircraft are disinfected on a daily basis, while passengers are required to comply with social distancing guidelines on board.

    13.40 - An Post:

    Older people are being reassured their pensions will be available for collection for up to 90 days after they are paid.

    An Post is responding to concerns expressed by pensioners, since stricter social distancing rules were introduced over the weekend.

    The company says a person can be nominated to collect the payment on their behalf, with forms available online and in post offices.

    Head of Communications at An Post, Anna Mc Hugh says people shouldn't worry about the money due to them:

    13.30 - Welfare:

    More than 300,000 people have applied for emergency social welfare payments after losing work.

    The Department of Social Protection says it's gone through a 19 month workload in just 14 days.

    283,000 payments have been made so far and a further 25,000 payments have gone to employers under the wage subsidy scheme.

    Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach Liz Canavan says some more requests have been refused:

    13.25 - Travel:

    Over 130 Irish citizens will touch down in Dublin airport shortly after they were repatriated from Peru.

    The country closed its borders two weeks ago due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Irish government had to seek diplomatic approval to rescue them.

    The British Airways flight from Lima landed at London's Heathrow Airport this morning and a connecting flight to Dublin is due within the hour.

    Liz Canavan, assistant secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach, thanked the Peruvian authorities for their help:

    13.20 - Movies:

    Stars of the movie Contagion have issued a series of public service announcements amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

    Matt Damon and Laurence Fishburne are among the actors who've teamed up with scientists from Columbia University to share evidence-based information about COVID-19.

    Kate Winslet played an epidemiologist in the movie and says while researching the role experts told her just how important hygiene is.

    13.15: Aer Lingus:

    An Aer Lingus flight which was going to China to pick up personal protective equipment for healthcare workers has been forced into an emergency landing.

    The Beijing bound flight took off from Dublin airport at 10:50 this morning, but was forced to turn back shortly afterwards.

    Witnesses saw flames coming from the planes engine following an apparent bird strike.

    Noel McConnell was at Dublin Airport's viewing area when it happened, and says emergency services are now at the scene

    13.10 - Cheese:

    The Association of Irish Cheesmakers is predicting a sales drop of 75%.

    It's due to the closure of markets and restaurants across the country.

    There's also concerns over where they'll store extra milk from a variety of animals.

    The association is encouraging people to buy Irish cheese online.

    13.05 - Olympics:

    The Tokyo Olympic Games are set to start on the 23 July 2021 and run until the 8 August 2021. 

    This announcement was made following an International Olympic Committee Executive Board meeting today. 

    The delay of one year was agreed by the board following discussions with the Tokyo 2020 organising committee and the International Federations.

    12.35 - Clusters:

    There are now 22 cluster cases of the coronavirus in nursing homes nationwide.

    The Health Minister is meeting with Nursing Homes Ireland this afternoon to discuss the number of cases among the elderly.

    There are now 2,615 cases of the coronavirus here with 20 per cent of the case affecting the over 65s.

    The most recent figures show 22 clusters of the infection are in nursing homes.

    20 are in the east of the country and 2 in the north-east.

    Age Action says the group nature of nursing homes –like shared eating areas – means those living there are at a big risk.
    Nursing Homes Ireland – meanwhile - says they need more funding and better personal protective equipment.

    CEO  Tadhg Daly says staffing is also a major concern:



    Outside of nursing homes those over the age of 70 are being reminded to cocoon and not leave their homes for their own protection.

    Officials say the coronavirus hits any age but doctors say you are more likely to get sick from it if you’re over the age of 70.

    12.23 - UK:

    The British Prime Minister's most senior adviser has developed coronavirus symptoms. 

    Dominic Cummings is self-isolating at home as a result. 

    He was seen running out of Ten Downing Street on Friday, shortly after Boris Johnson announced he'd tested positive for Covid-19. 

    12.14 - Peru:

    An Irish resident who was stuck in Peru, and didn't know if his name was on the list for the rescue flight, will land in Dublin this afternoon.

    Andrew Garrigan has been living here for 18 years but has a British passport.

    He was one of over 100 Irish people who were repatriated from Lima after the country closed its borders.

    Andrew Garrigan, who is waiting on a connecting flight from Heathrow, says it's been an emotional rollercoaster:

    12.01 - Social Welfare:

    More than two hundred and eighty three thousand people have received social welfare payments after losing their jobs because of the Coronavirus.

    The Department of Social Protection has had 323-thousand individual applications from people who've been made unemployed over the past two weeks. 

    The government says that's the equivalent of 19 months of social welfare claims in just 14 days. 

    Liz Canavan, assistant secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach, outlined the figures:

    1.47 - Scientist:

    An Australian scientist has been admitted to hospital after getting four magnets stuck in his nose.

    Dr Daniel Reardon was trying to invent a necklace that sets off an alarm when you touch your face.

    That plan failed, so he absent mindedly clipped them on either side of his nostrils.

    He told the Guardian that he's fine, if a bit embarassed by the ordeal.

    11.30 - Government soon?: 

    Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin says he's hopeful a new government can be formed within the next three weeks.

    He has confirmed talks are continuing between his party and Fine Gael, with a view to an economic recovery following the pandemic.

    They'll need a third group to sign up before they can make up the numbers they need, though.

    He wouldn't be drawn on whether the position of Taoiseach will be rotated, and if so, who would take it first:

    11.00 - Spanish cases:

    A further 812 people with coronavirus have died in Spain.

    Public health officials say that brings the total number of fatal cases in the country to more than 7-thousand-300.

    Total positive test results have also risen to more than 85-thousand.

    Spain now ranks third after the US and Italy for the number of infections.

    10.40 - Taxi's:

    Only 25 per cent of taxis are currently in operation, according to the former vice-president of the National Taxi-Drivers Union. 

    They've cut back considerably after new restrictions on travel were introduced on Friday. 

    But Vinny Kearns, who runs a big taxi company in Dublin, says there are still too many on the roads:

    10.20 - Airports:

    Passengers numbers were down 90 per cent last week at Dublin Airport compared to the same time last year. 

    Management at the airport says it is open to assist with the repatriation of Irish citizens stranded overseas.

    While it also says it will help get citizens of other nations home. 

    10.10 - Repatriation update:

    A flight carrying over 100 Irish citizens trapped in Peru has landed in London after leaving Lima last night.

    The South American country closed its borders on March 16th, with a strict nationwide lockdown in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The British Airways plane was carrying people from Ireland, the UK and from 13 EU countries.

    The Irish cohort will depart from London this afternoon

    09.30 - Shopping 

    Brown Thomas and Arnotts have suspended online trading in response to the latest government measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.

    The retailers have notified customers that they have suspended their online offerings until a time when it is safe to start again.

    The companies say that they will be in touch with customers who are waiting on orders in the coming days.

    09.15 - Social welfare

    The Department of Social Protection is expecting a rise in applications for the new wage subsidy scheme after further coronavirus restrictions were announced on Friday.

    16 thousand companies have signed up so far while hundreds of thousands have applied for the Covid social welfare payment.

    Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty expects that to rise today:

    09.00 - Insurance 

    People with private health insurance could be in line for temporary reductions in their premiums during the coronavirus crisis.

    The insurance sector is meeting with the government this week to discuss the measures.

    It's after the government took control of private hospitals to deal with the pandemic.

    Consumer journalist Siobhan Maguire says customers should see a change in their premiums soon:

    08.30 - Central Park

    A field hospital has been set up in New York's Central Park to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

    Over 33,000 people in New York City have tested positive for Covid 19, and 776 people had died.

    Over the weekend, crews started the construction of long, white medical tents in the park's East Meadow lawn. 

    Mayor Bill de Blasio said he expected the 68-bed emergency field hospital to open Tuesday.

    08.20 - Banking 

    Bank of Ireland and AIB have decided to withdraw their proposed dividends due to the evolving pandemic. 

    Bank of Ireland announced last month its intention to propose a dividend of 17.5 cents per share. 

    However, following the recommendation from the European Central Bank on Friday, both have decided not to proceed, and will assess the proposal at a future date. 
     

    08.15 - Peak Covid-19 cases:

    Health officials say we still haven’t hit a peak in Covid 19 cases.

    The HSE says it’s planning for the peak to come around April 10th to 14th. 

    Consultant Chris Luke at Mercy University Hospital Cork says they’re preparing for a rise in cases.

    08.00 - American approach

    The US President has extended social distancing rules in America for another month.

    Yesterday a disease expert for the US government warned the outbreak could kill between 100 and 200-thousand Americans. 

    Donald Trump previously said he wanted to get the country back to work in a matter of weeks - but has now changed his view:

     

    07.18 - Mental health:

    45 per cent of business leaders are fearful of the lasting impact of Covid-19 on their mental health and survival in business.

    Today's survey by recruitment firm Osborne also shows 93 per cent of managers are supportive of the government's actions during the crisis.

    Almost two thirds say the virus will permanently change the way their business operates in the future.

    Osborne chief executive Shona McManus says leaders have many worries at the moment:

    07.16 - Checkpoints:

    Gardaí conducted more than 800 checkpoints between 5pm on Saturday and 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon to make sure people are adhering to the new restrictions.

    Around 17-hundred patrols were also carried out, with high levels of compliance reported. 

    07.15 - Repatriation:

    A flight carrying over 100 Irish citizens trapped in Peru left Lima last night.

    The South American country closed its borders on March 16th, with a strict nationwide lockdown in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs has been working for the past 10 days to help Irish people stuck in other countries to get home.

    The British Airways plane was carrying people from Ireland, the UK and from 13 EU countries.

    07.15 - Public transport:

    New public transport timetables have taken effect, with Irish Rail operating a 60 per cent reduction in service.

    Bus operators are to follow suit on Wednesday, while there's been a drop in passenger numbers by around 80 per cent, since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The NTA say it's confident social distancing will be possible with reduced services and passengers.

    Chief executive Anne Graham expects the number of people using public transport to reduce even more:

    07.10 - Protective equipment:

    A flight has flown to Dublin Airport from China carrying personal protective equipment.

    Over 200 million euro worth of the masks, gowns and goggles will be distributed to healthcare staff and hospitals across the country.

    The HSE usually spends around 15 million euro a year on PPE.

    HSE chief executive Paul Reid says more flights will be bringing personal protective equipment back from China:

    07.00 - Nursing homes:

    The Health Minister will meet top officials today to arrange for new measures to tackle Covid-19 in nursing homes. 

    There are now 17 clusters of the coronavirus in nursing homes across the state. 

    Yesterday, it was revealed 10 more people died of the illness in the Republic, and a further 200 cases. 

    Simon Harris says he's very worried about the prevalence of the illness among older people:

    06.00 - Local figures:

    10 more people in the east of the country have died from the coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland.

    Eight are men and two are women, bringing the total death toll to 46 and the average age of yesterday's reported deaths was 77.

    200 new cases have been confirmed 

    There are 110 confirmed cases in the midlands. 

    Westmeath has 67 people with the illness, there are 29 patients in Offaly and 14 in Laois.

 

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