Tom Walker

Just You And I

Coronavirus: 28 Deaths Recorded Today

500 new cases confirmed today - highest figure recorded in a single day. 

17.46 - Latest figures:

A further 28 people are confirmed to have died from Covid19 in the Republic. 

500 new cases confirmed today - highest figure recorded in a single day. 

15 of the new cases are in the midlands - bringing the total in the region to 260. 

It now brings the death toll to 263 while the number of confirmed cases stands at 6,574.

Westmeath has eight new cases bringing the toal to 142

Offaly has risen by four to 81, meanwhile three more patients were diagnosed with the illness in Laois.

There are now 37 in the O'Moore County with COVID-19. 

The State's Chief Medical Officer is Dr Tony Holohan - he has more details on the people who have died:

17.42 - Testing:

The Social Protection Minister's defended the government's approach to testing for coronovirus.

It's after concerns were raised over a backlog in the number of people who are waiting for a test.

Minister Regina Doherty insists every effort is being made to increase the numbers being tested:

17.39 - UK:

The British Prime Minister's condition is said to be "improving" after spending a third night in intensive care.

Boris Johnson is still on oxygen treatment after testing positive for Covid-19.

Speaking at the Downing Street daily briefing, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab gave this update:

17.28 - Social distancing:

A Limerick TD is calling on gardaí to enforce their new powers to ensure people are following the social distancing guidelines.

Recent videos show a group of men drinking alcohol in a party bus shouting "up the coronavirus". 

There has also been criticism of a video believed to be recorded in the county which shows a barber set up outside, wearing a face mask. 

Fianna Fáil TD, Niall Collins, says people need to show more respect for their local community:

17.07 - Mater Hospital:

Staff at the Mater Hospital in Dublin have praised people for helping to stop the spread of coronavirus.

While observing social distancing, fontline workers gathered outside the hospital and clapped for two minutes, as a gesture of thanks to the public.

They're calling on people to continue to adhere to guidelines this weekend.

CEO of the hospital is Alan Sharpe:

16.46 - Exams:

Students say the government need to make clear its plans for the state exams.

Over 100 thousand pupils are still waiting to hear if the Junior and Leaving Cert can go ahead in June.

The Department of Education says it's working on contingency plans and is urging students to keep revising.

Sean Carey from the Irish Second Level Students Union says there's still a lot of questions that need to be answered:

16.17 - Haircut:

A Dublin farmer, who has become an internet sensation after using a sheep sheers to cut his own hair, is not recommending others give it a go.

Donie Anderson hadn't had his hair cut since the summer, and decided to record himself as he chopped it off yesterday.

His Facebook video has been watched more than one million times since then.

Donie is happy his exploits are bringing people a bit of joy during the lockdown, but says it's not something they should try themselves:

16.01 - Worldwide:

There are now over 1.5 million confirmed cases of Covid 19 across the globe.

The virus, which has been spreading globally for 100 days, has claimed almost 90,000 lives.

It's now 100 days since the World Health Organisation was notified of the first Covid-19 cases, and since then it's spread to 192 countries and territories, infecting 1.5 million people and causing almost 90,000 deaths. 

The US has been most affected, with 432,000 confirmed cases and over 14,000 deaths.

Latest figures show Europe is the worst-hit continent with 787,000 diagnosed cases and 62,000 fatalities. 

Italy's death toll stands at over 17 and a half thousand, followed by Spain with over 15,000 deaths. 

In France, where the number of fatalities is approaching 11,000, lockdown measures will extend beyond April 15th. 

Another 765 people have died in England, down on yesterday - but takes the total to 7-thousand 248.

41 new deaths have been recorded in Wales - and 81 in Scotland.

15.46 - St. Vincent De Paul:

St Vincent de Paul is calling on phone and internet companies to halt disconnections for the duration of the covid-19 crisis.

The Charity says it's important that people are able to stay connected to vital communication services while at home.

It is also asking telecom's companies to deal compassionately with customers who may be struggling with large bills in the coming weeks.

15.33 - Working from home:

People are being warned to be vigilant when working from home. 

Minister for Communications Richard Bruton has issued guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre on working from home securely in order to prevent hacking and fraud. 
 
The centre says the recent COVID-19 situation has suddenly presented IT personnel and all users with cyber security challenges on a significantly larger scale than ever before.

People working from home are advised to use WiFi securely, maintain strong password practices, and avoid email phishing. 

  • 15.17 - Unemployment:

    There's been a sharp rise in the unemployment rate in Ireland in March.

    When adjusted for the number of people receiving special Covid 19 unemployment benefit, the rate is 16.5 per cent.

    That figure outstrips the highest level recorded in the financial crisis.

    Chief Economist with KBC Bank, Austin Hughes says the numbers reflect the steep decline in economic activity last month:

    14.59 - Ferries:

    The usual influx of visitors, arriving into Dublin Port, isn't set to feature this Easter weekend as government restrictions continue.

    Stena Line's Simon Palmer says while trucks are continuing to arrive, there's been a significant drop in car and foot passengers;

    14.51 - Social media:

    The State's chief medical officer has gained over 70 thousand new Twitter followers since the coronavirus outbreak.

    Dr Tony Holohan jumped from 2 thousand 700 followers to over 73 thousand in the space of a month, according to data from Mulley Communications.

    Director Damien Mulley says the HSE and the Department of Health saw gains as well:

    14.39 - Political parties:

    Political party leaders will be briefed on the response to the Coronavirus this afternoon.

    It comes as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are due to finalise a document setting out how a coalition between the two will work.

    That's likely to be finalised tomorrow and go to smaller parties over the weekend to consider. 

    Both parties are looking for a third group to come on board in order to bring stability to any coalition deal.

    14.15 - Forest parks:

    Some of Coillte's forests throughout the country have recorded a 99 per cent drop in footfall since restrictions on movement were introduced.

    Portumna Forest Park in Galway, the Devils Glen in Wicklow and Ards Forest Park in Donegal experienced the sharp declines.

    Meanwhile, the number of people visiting Coillte forests in Dublin has fallen by 78 per cent.

    Around 720 people visited forests at Kilmashogue, Kiltipper and Rathmichael between March 28th and April 3rd.

    This compared with around 3,200 recorded the previous week. 

    13.56 - Political briefing:

    Political party leaders will be briefed on the response to the Coronavirus this afternoon.

    It comes as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are due to finalise a document setting out how a coalition between the two will work.

    That's likely to be finalised tomorrow and go to smaller parties over the weekend to consider. 

    Both parties are looking for a third group to come on board in order to bring stability to any coalition deal.

    13.28 - Trinity vaccine:

    Trinity College has announced it's to begin working with the manufacturers of a potential vaccine for the coronavirus.

    The university is setting up a Covid-19 research hub that will involve immunologists and infectious disease clinicians from St James’s Hospital.

    Professor Kingston Mills is co-leading the project;

    13.18 - Calories:

    Adults should only be eating around 1,500 a calories a day during the lockdown, according to a weight loss expert.

    People are leading more sedentary lives at the moment, meaning that we don't require the usual amount of calories.

    However many people are comfort eating and finding it hard to exercise.

    Dr Eva Orsmund says the type of food we're eating is the most important:

    13.01 - Asylum seekers:

    200 self-isolation bedrooms have been announced for asylum-seekers to allow them practice social-distancing. 

    They're single bedrooms in Cork, Limerick and Dundalk, and are additional to the 650 announced last week. 

    There have been concerns about the cramped conditions in direct-provision centres during the pandemic. 

    Nick Henderson, the chief executive of the Irish Refugee Council, says more still needs to be done. 

    12.41 - Online presence:

    The State's Chief Medical Officer, the Department of Health and the HSE have all had big jumps in their online followings since the outbreak of COVID-19.

    The Twitter accounts for all three gained  over 170 thousand followers combined since the start of March.

    Facebook has had a rise in total users since September, according to figures from Mulley Communications.

    Director Damien Mulley says it stops a slide that the social media platform was experiencing:

    12.17 - Missing sport:

    The Olympics is the sporting event that's most missed by Irish people this year.  

    A survey by Lottoland shows it's followed by the Six Nations Rogby and Premiere League Finals.  

    Dubliners are being hardest hit by the loss of the Olympics, while Munster sports fans are most upset at the thought of the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championships being negatively impacted. 

    12.03 - Nurses:

    More foreign nurses will be able to work here as english language test requirements are being changed.  

    Following a review by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, the writing score has been decreased slightly. 

    The board says the amendments better relate to day to day practice and it does not believe this will compromise standards.  

    11.54 - Unemployment:

    The unemployment rate in March, including those receiving the Pandemic Unemployment benefit was 16.5 per cent.

    The CSO has released its first set of official monthly unemployment figures since the crisis began.

    A third of those receiving some form of welfare support are aged 15 to 24, while the rate for those aged over 25 is just over 14 per cent.

    The standard measure of unemployment, without the Covid payments, was 5.4% in March 2020. 

    11.47 - Vaccine:

    Trinity College has announced it's to begin working with the manufacturers of a potential vaccine for the coronavirus.

    The university is setting up a Covid-19 research hub that will involve immunologists and infectious disease clinicians from St James’s Hospital.

    Professor Kingston Mills is co-leading the project:

    11.37 - Weight:

    Adults should only be eating around 1,500 a calories a day during the lockdown, according to a weight loss expert.

    People are leading more sedentary lives at the moment, meaning that we don't require the usual amount of calories.

    However many people are comfort eating and finding it hard to exercise.

    Dr Eva Orsmund says the type of food we're eating is the most important:

    11.31 - Exams:

    The government is looking at delaying the start of the state exams because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Irish Times reports the junior and leaving cert could be pushed back until the late summer.

    One option also being looked at is predicted grades, where students are given a mark based on past results.

    Conor Smith, a leaving cert student, says students just want certainty - like there's been in other countries:

    11.14 - Social Media Figures:

    The Health Minister's consistant live broadcasts on social media are helping to prevent rumours about Covid-19 from spreading, according to an analyst.

    Simon Harris has broadcast live on Twitter and Instagram throughout the pandemic, while his following has nearly doubled in that timeframe.

    Chief medical officer Tony Holohan has seen the biggest increase, with rise of over 70,000 followers in a month, according to data from Mulley Communications.

    11.00 - Applause:

    Staff at the Mater Hospital in Dublin have gathered to applaud the Irish public this morning.

    They are showing their appreciation to everyone who is staying at home and helping to slow the spread of Covid-19.

    10.42 - Ferries:

    As the government continues to warn people against travelling to holiday homes this weekend, Dublin Port has seen a dramatic drop in car and foot passengers.

    Simon Palmer, communications manager for Stena Line, says on a normal bank holiday weekend, they would have thousands of passengers: 

    10.39 - Easter Weekend:

    An infectious disease specialist is warning the Easter Weekend could be our Cheltenham if we don’t follow the coronavirus restrictions.

    There are just over 6,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 here and 235 people have died. 

    The number of clusters has risen to 299, with nursing homes making up a third of them.

    Dublin has the most cases, while Carlow and Leitrim have the least.

    10.22 - Sleeping:

    Routine is the key to shrugging off any sleep issues during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an expert.

    Some have reported irregular sleeping patterns as their work or family situations may have changed since the outbreak.

    Sleep consultant and author Lucy Wolfe has this advice:

    10.10 - Airports:

    Passenger traffic at Europe's airports dropped by nearly 60 per cent last month. 

    Most airlines grounded their fleet in recent weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

    According to ACI Europe, 106 million passengers were lost in March. 

    It's much worse than the economic crash, as it took European airports 12 months to lose 100 million passengers in 2009. 

    09.58 - Facebook numbers:

    Facebook has reversed its falling numbers in Ireland - as 100,000 more people signed up to the social media website since September.

    Analysis by Mulley Communications has found the State's chief medical officer Tony Holohan's Twitter following grew from 2,700 in March to over 73,000 at the start of this month.

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar grew his following by 60,000 in that time frame, compared to a 14,000 rise for Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and 5,000 for Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin.

    09.46 - Health advice:

    We need to flatten the curve, not fatten our curves, according to a health advocate.

    Many people are over eating and not getting enough exercise during the lockdown with the majority of people likely to put on weight.

    Dr Eva Orsmond is a weight loss expert and says people need to be especially careful around Easter:

    09.30 - Global economic situation:

    Oxfam's calling on international leaders to provide a 2.5 trillion dollar rescue package to prevent a 'global economic collapse'. 

    The international aid group claims Covid-19 could force 500 million people into poverty. 

    It's demanding urgent and dramatic action to prevent that happening. 

    Oxfam chief executive Jim Clarken says poor countries have already been very badly hit:

    09.20 - UK Lockdown:

    In the UK, there's speculation the coronavirus lockdown could be extended until May at the earliest. 

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will chair the government's emergency Cobra meeting later.

    Some ministers believe a decision on lifting the ban will not be taken until the Prime Minister returns to work. 

    That could be several weeks away as Boris Johnson's spent a third night in intensive care fighting the virus. 

    09.11 - Unemployment benefit:

    The Covid-19 unemployment payment has significantly reduced the number of families faced with extreme financial loss, according to the ESRI.

    It has carried out new research assessing the impact the government's policy response has on 600,000 job loses.

    It found the number who suffer a lose in income of 20 percent or more is reduced from 400,000 to 281,000 when the 350 euro per week support's considered.

    But Barra Roantree from the ESRI says the cost is significant:

    09.02 - DCU students:

    DCU says it's put in place a number of alternatives to campus-based exams, with all of them to be carried out online.

    Set tasks or take-away tests will make up most of the alternative assessments.

    While the exam period has been extended by a week to May 23rd to allow for any technical issues that arise for students.

    08.55 - British Prime Minister

    Boris Johnson has spent another night in intensive care but is showing signs of improvement.

    It's understood the British Prime Minister is sitting up in bed and engaging with doctors.

    However he won't be part of emergency talks later to discuss extending restrictions in the UK.

    08.41 - General Practitioners:

    Rolling movement restrictions could be in place until a vaccine for Covid-19 is developed. 

    The European Centre for Disease Control says it's too early for countries to start lifting community and physical distancing measures.

    There are now just over 6 thousand confirmed cases of the virus here and 235 people have lost their lives. 

    Clare GP Liam Glynn says the restrictions should stay in place until the virus is under control:

    08.29 - Healthcare workers contractions:

    The percentage of healthcare workers in Ireland with Covid-19 ranks among the highest in Europe when compared with figures from the European Centre for Disease Control.

    It says the average among EU states is between nine and 26 percent - the Irish figure is 26 per cent.

    But deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn says countries class cases among healthcare workers differently:

    08.16 - Exams:

    State exams may now be held in late summer or autumn because of the coronavirus. 

    The Irish Times says the government believes it's unlikely the restrictions will be lifted in time for their usual June start date. 

    Students have been urged to continue with their studies as senior officials in the Department of Education consider a range of contingency options due to the coronavirus crisis.

    08.05 - Oxfam:

    The coronavirus pandemic could push more than half a billion people into poverty, according to a new report.

    International aid group Oxfam is calling for urgent and dramatic action to prevent that happening. 

    It's calling on rich nations to support poorer countries who will be very badly hit.

    The group is calling for international leaders to agree a 2.5 trillion dollar rescue package to prevent 'global economic collapse'. 

    07.53 - Mild cases:

    GPs are urging anyone experiencing mild symptoms of Covid-19 to self-isolate immediately.

    The Irish College of General Practitioners wants people to try to protect people who are vulnerable in their own families.

    Those experiencing symptoms won't be tested for the disease unless they are in a priority groups - including the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

    07.46 - Patient transfers:

    Patients with Covid-19 in Dublin could be moved to intensive care units outside the capital.

    There are concerns Dublin hospitals could reach capacity in ICU, after the Mater Hospital said its intensive care unit is full and patients had been moved to the high dependency unit instead. 

    The HSE's director of acute hospitals, Liam Woods, says transferring patients to ICUs in other counties isn't being ruled out: 

    07.35 - Global outlook:

    There are now 1.5 million cases of Covid-19 globally, and 88,000 people have died.

    However, more than 300,000 have recovered.

    The World Health Organisation has called on world leaders not to politicise the pandemic.

    It follows a threat from Donald Trump to cease its funding, claiming the organisation "called it wrong" on the virus.

    07.24 - Coughing conviction:

    A Sligo woman has become the first person to be jailed for coughing on a Garda during the pandemic.

    Rachel Conway of Rusheen Ard, Caltragh was sentenced to four weeks after appearing in court in Leitrim.

    On Tuesday Gardai approached Ms Conway in the Riverside area of Sligo town where she was drinking with a group of people.

    A Garda asked for her name, but Ms Conway refused.

    She talked about Covid-19 and then coughed in the face of the officer.

    She was subsequently arrested and charged for the offence.

    At a special sitting of Carrick on Shannon District Court yesterday,  Judge Kevin Kilraine sentenced Conway to 28 days in jail.

    She has now become the first person in the country to be sent to prison for the act during the current outbreak.

    07.10 - Pets:

    Don't pet other people's cats and dogs throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

    According to vets, there's no study completed on whether coronavirus can be spread through animals fur - but if the disease is on a person's hands it could be transferred to the animal's coat.

    Dr Alan Rossiter is a vet and former president of Veterinary Ireland - he has this advice:

    07.00 - Train disruption:

    Irish Rail is operating a reduced timetable for the Bank Holiday weekend starting from this morning.

    Necessary works are taking place along lines across the country with numerous bus transfers in place.

    Extra security will be deployed on services to ensure that only people who need to travel can take the train:

    Jane Cregan is a spokesperson from Irish Rail - she outlines the disruption:

    06.51 - Business:

    IBEC's warning new financial supports will need to be scaled up significantly over the coming weeks if Irish companies are to weather the Covid-19 crisis.

    Yesterday, the Government announced it was adding 450 million euro to two loan schemes, bringing the total available to firms to 1 billion.

    IBEC has welcomed the announcement, but estimates up to 30 billion will ultimately be needed by the tens of thousands of firms around the country.

    06.40 - Restrictions remaining:

    Restrictions on movement and travel could be in place for months to come. 

    The death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 235, after a further 25 people were confirmed to have lost their lives, while 365 new cases have been confirmed.

    There are now 6,074 diagnosed cases of the virus. 

    The European Centre for Disease Control says it's too early for countries to start lifting community and physical distancing measures.

    The State's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tony Holohan says the growth rate of the virus needs to reduce significantly:

    06.30 - Latest figures:

    The Department of Health last night announced a further 25 people are confirmed to have sadly died from Covid19 in the Republic. 

    365 new cases confirmed today too. It now brings the death toll to 235 while the number of confirmed cases stands at 6,074.

    In the midlands,

    Westmeath now has 134 confirmed cases, a jump of 13 from yesterday's figures.

    In Offaly, that stands at 77, up 4 from yesterday.

    And there have been 34 covid-19 cases in Laois to date, compared to 31 yesterday.

 

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