Follow the latest coronavirus news in Ireland and across the world on the Independent.ie live blog.
Data provided by the Department of Health confirmed the following breakdown on cases, as of Thursday night.
Of the 24,870 cases confirmed up to that point, the data revealed:
· 57% are female and 43% are male
· The median age of confirmed cases is 48 years
· 3,279 cases (13%) have been hospitalised
· Of those hospitalised, 408 cases have been admitted to ICU
· 7,955 cases are associated with healthcare workers
· Dublin has the highest number of cases at 12,031 (48% of all cases) followed by Cork with 1,472 cases (6%) and then Kildare with 1,416 cases (6%)
· Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 39%, close contact accounts for 58%, travel abroad accounts for 2%
Nine more people die with further 59 cases confirmed
A further nine people were reported to have died with Covid-19 in figures released today by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
There have now been a total 1,651 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.
And the centre stated that it had been notified of 59 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. There is now a total of 24,929 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.
Spain further eases coronavirus restrictions in four small islands
Four small Spanish islands will be able to open the outside terraces of bars and restaurants to 75pc of their capacity from Monday, the government said, a further easing of coronavirus lockdown rules for parts of the country least affected by the disease.
Tables on terraces must still be kept 1.5 meters (5 feet) apart, according to regulations published by the government’s Official Bulletin on Saturday and affecting La Graciosa, El Hierro and La Gomera in the Canary Islands, and Formentera in the Balearics.
Spain, one of the countries in Europe worst hit by the disease, has been lifting restrictions in a phased fashion, with some regions deemed safer than others to move back to normal.
In the four islands entering phase 3, groups of up to 20 people can meet and shopping centers will be allowed to re-open at 40pc of capacity. Hotels and other leisure establishments can have common areas up to 50pc of capacity.
Companies should still encourage home working but also can organize the return of workers to the office as long as their arrival is staggered. Museums will be allowed to organize activities.
‘Very low’ level of disease means path is clear to next easing phase
The country is on course to take the next step to ease the lockdown as the latest trends show the coronavirus is being crushed.
The level of the disease in the community is now “very low” and all indications are that overall control of the virus is now “astonishingly stable”.
The optimistic verdict was delivered by Prof Philip Nolan of Maynooth University yesterday, who is leading a team tracking the spread of virus.
He said: “Intensive care and hospital admissions as well as the number of deaths per day continue to decline.
Kerry beach closed to the public following ‘high volumes’
Reports Gabija Gataveckaite
A beach in Kerry has closed to the public after “high volumes” of the public took to the seaside.
Inch Beach and the adjoining car park will be closed to the public for the Bank Holiday weekend after a request from An Garda Siochana.
It is understood that those who live nearby can still attend the beach.
“Inch Beach and the car park at Inch Beach will be closed to the public for the duration of the weekend, following a request from An Garda Siochana,” a tweet from Kerry County Council read.
“This is due to high traffic volumes.”
Inch Beach and the car park at Inch Beach will be closed to the public for the duration of the weekend, following a request from An Garda Siochana. This is due to high traffic volumes.
— Kerry County Council (@countykerry) May 29, 2020
Church urges inquiries into virus impact on nursing homes
Michael McHugh, PA
The Catholic Church has called for inquiries into the impact of Covid-19 on nursing homes in Ireland.
More than half of all deaths have occurred in the care facilities
The church said they should be prioritised to ensure they have the people and equipment necessary to deal with crises when they arise.
It added: “We would welcome appropriate inquiries into the reasons why nursing care facilities were so badly affected.
“Lessons must be learned.”
Labour calls for ‘commitment’ to ensure schools will be resourced when they reopen
Labour has called for the government to finance resources for schools to reopen at the end of August.
Speaking yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed that both primary and secondary schools will reopen at the start of the academic year.
Labour Education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said that education has been a “low priority” for the government.
“We have seen a plethora of mixed messages on education in the last three months from the Leaving Cert, re-opening of schools and now on whether additional resources will be made available to allow schools to open safely in the coming months. This is not good enough,” he said today.
“Why are we not front-loading resources to ensure that schools will have adequate staffing levels and that they will be enabled to physically conduct lessons in a safe manner to all students?”
The TD called for “clarity” for schools if they will need to have PPE, re-arrange classrooms and provide sanitation measures.
“There is a real concern amongst school leadership teams that there will be a drop in students returning to schools in September.
“The Department of Education needs to have the foresight to invest in home school liaison and pastoral care initiatives to ensure that those who need our education system the most, return to school in September,” he added.
by Michael McHugh, PA
Field testing of a Covid-19 contact-tracing app is due to begin in Ireland next week, the HSE said.
The app is designed to maximise privacy and value for public health, the health service added.
The software will operate on a voluntary and opt-in basis and will help track down those in close contact with positive cases of the disease.
A HSE statement said: “The app is being prepared for field testing which is due to commence next week.
“This will validate the use of Exposure Notification Service (ENS) to trace close contacts.
“The Exposure Notification Service (ENS) has been developed by Apple and Google.”
The app will be launched once it is fully operational and the necessary approvals have been received from the Data Protection Commissioner, health experts from the National Public Health Emergency Team, HSE and the Government.
The HSE added: “The Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) will be submitted to the Data Protection Commissioner and will be made available along with the technical documents and source code before the launch of the app.”
The HSE’s app will operate through a voluntary and decentralised tracking system.
The British government’s app uses a centralised model, with data stored and analysed on a central server.
Northern Ireland’s contact tracing is being carried out exclusively by telephone.
Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann has said officials are still considering which app will be the best fit.
He has said a Northern Ireland version may be necessary to ensure it worked with the one being developed in the Republic.
Over seven days, from May 19-25, 212 cases were contact traced, about 30 per day, by 99 health and social care staff who have been redeployed in Northern Ireland.
A contact-tracing programme, aimed to identify and alert people who have come into contact with a person infected with coronavirus, was piloted in Northern Ireland from April 27 before being fully rolled out earlier in May.
Schools plan for return as ‘good chance of one-metre gap’ by then
The reopening of the country’s 4,000 primary and post-primary schools is on track for the start of the new academic year, but the big question is what social distancing rules will apply, reports Cormac McQuinn and Katherine Donnelly.
DCU students can book campus accommodation for as little as one night
Students attending Dublin City University (DCU) are being offered a flexible approach to campus accommodation including booking for single nights, weeks or months for the academic year ahead.
The unprecedented approach to renting out rooms in campus residences reflects the dramatic change to college life anticipated because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Like all other third-level colleges, DCU is planning for a situation where not all students will be on campus at the same time, with a hybrid tuition model combining online and face-to-face classes. “It is highly unlikely that any given student would need to be on campus more than a small number of days per week,” the college said.
Liverpool deputy mayor investigated over lockdown garden gathering
The deputy mayor of Liverpool has stepped down while an inquiry takes place into footage of a gathering in her garden during lockdown.
The city’s Labour group is investigating after video emerged on social media of at least 12 people at the home of Lynnie Hinnigan, where a number of chairs were laid out.
Councillor Hinnigan said that no party took place because of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, and guests had just dropped off gifts in a surprise event for her 50th birthday, organised by her daughter.
She told the Liverpool Echo: “I really wasn’t aware that it was happening, it was genuinely a surprise.
“Everyone is finding lockdown hard, not seeing family and friends, but everyone should still follow the rules, stay alert, stay safe and socially distance, which is exactly what I told my daughter and the reason I never left the house
“I am sorry if this has hurt anyone as it was never mine or my daughter’s intention
“Many other families in our city have struggled throughout this period. We still need to follow the guidance until we can meet face to face again.”
The Labour group said Councillor Hinnigan had “voluntarily and temporarily” stepped down from her duties.
England easing Covid-19 lockdown too soon, scientific advisers warn
England risks losing control of the coronavirus pandemic again because it is starting to lift its lockdown without a fully operational track and trace programme in place, three senior scientific advisers warned on Saturday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said England’s lockdown measures will be eased cautiously from Monday, aided by a track and trace system that launched on Thursday.
The advisers warned, however, that the system was not yet in full operation and risked being overwhelmed by the around 8,000 new infections that are still occurring every day outside of hospitals and care homes.
WATCH: ‘We are on track to move to phase two’ – Taoiseach on lifting next restrictions
Explainer: How has the coronavirus pandemic disruption changed household spending?
The virus has radically altered household spending, putting paid to old habits and introducing new trends, reports personal finance editor Charlie Weston.
Thousands flout curfew as unrest spreads across US over death of George Floyd
Associated Press Reporters
Thousands of protesters ignored a curfew and vows of a forceful police response to take to the streets of Minneapolis for a fourth night, as the anger stoked by the death of George Floyd in police custody in the city spread across the US.
The Pentagon on Saturday ordered the Army to put military police units on alert to head to the city on short notice at President Donald Trump’s request, a rare step which came as the violence spread to other areas including Detroit, Atlanta and New York City.
Criminal charges filed on Friday morning against the white officer who held his knee for nearly nine minutes on the neck of Floyd, a black man, did nothing to stem the anger. Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Minneapolis police said shots had been fired at officers during the protests but no-one was injured.
The new round of unrest came despite Minnesota governor Tim Walz vowing earlier on Friday to show a more forceful response. By early Saturday morning, Mr Walz acknowledged he did not have enough manpower.
“We do not have the numbers,” he said. “We cannot arrest people when we are trying to hold ground.”
Mr Walz said he is moving quickly to mobilise more than 1,000 more National Guard members, for a total of 1,700, and is considering the potential offer of federal military police. But he warned even that might not be enough, saying he expects another difficult night on Saturday.
While not all the protests have been violent, anger fills the streets of Minneapolis.
Local resident Ben Hubert, 26, said he was not surprised people were breaking the curfew and starting fires.
“I’m outraged,” he said of the Floyd case. “But I’m also sad. The injustice has been going on for so long. It’s been swelling for years.”
Chauvin is also accused of ignoring another officer who expressed concerns about Floyd as he lay handcuffed on the ground, pleading that he could not breathe while Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes. Floyd, who was black, had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit note at a store.
Chauvin, who was fired along with three other officers who were at the scene, faces more than 12 years in prison if convicted of murder.
Dividing screens, ‘Peaky Blinders’ snugs and maitre d’ stations: Inside a pub ahead of August reopening
Journalist Laura Lynott looks at the future of the Irish pub in a coronavirus world, complete with snugs, glass and timber screens, stylish new safety structures, traffic lights controlling toilet use and temperature screening on the way in.
Virus all but gone in New Zealand but cases on rise in India
New Zealand has all but eradicated the coronavirus from its shores, with just one person in the nation of five million known to be still infected.
However, developments elsewhere are grim, with India reporting another record increase in cases, and deaths reaching a new peak in Pakistan.
In the US, the virus threw more than two million people out of work last week despite the reopening of businesses.
The confirmed US death toll has surpassed 100,000, the highest in the world.
The Big Read: ‘It’s about saving lives’ – the Irish volunteers who want to be infected with Covid-19
Up to 67 Irish people want to be exposed to the virus in order to help the search for a vaccine. Kim Bielenberg talks to those involved in a growing movement and examines how clinical trials are conducted in Ireland.
WATCH: US cuts ties with WHO
President Donald Trump has said the US will be terminating its relationship with the World Health Organisation.
The president said it had failed to adequately respond to coronavirus because China has “total control” over the global organisation.
Over 5.9m people across the world infected by virus
Coronavirus has infected more than 5.9 million people across the world and killed more than 365,000, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Here are some updates from around the world-
The country registered another record single-day jump of 7,964 coronavirus cases and 265 deaths, a day before the two-month-old lockdown is set to end.
The Health Ministry put the total number of confirmed cases at 173,763 with 4,971 deaths. The infections include 82,369 people who have recovered.
Officials have reported 39 new cases of the virus, most of them in the densely populated Seoul area where scores of infections have been linked to warehouse workers.
The latest figures from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention brought national totals to 11,441 confirmed cases and 269 deaths.
Its director Jeong Eun-kyeong said on Friday that at least 102 infections have been linked to workers at a massive warehouse operated by Coupang, a local e-commerce giant that has seen orders spike during the crisis.
China has reported four new confirmed cases of Covid-19, all brought in from outside the country, but no further deaths.
Just 63 people remain in treatment and another 401 are in isolation and being monitoring after showing signs of having the virus, or after testing positive without showing any symptoms.
China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths among 82,999 cases since the virus was first detected in the central industrial city of Wuhan.
With virtually everyone wearing masks in public, most offices, shops and restaurants have reopened.
The country’s Civil Aviation Authority announced international flights can resume in and out of Pakistan – even as it recorded its single highest overnight death toll of 78 and the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases soared beyond 66,000.
As of Saturday, Pakistan had recorded 1,395 deaths from the virus since mid-March and daily counts of new cases showed a jump of nearly 2,500.
Cases of Covid-19 have increased in towns but are now falling in cities
The coronavirus has moved out of cities and into towns around Ireland in recent weeks, it emerged yesterday.
The number of people contracting Covid-19 in cities has fallen, but it has increased in towns, new figures reveal.
People living in these towns now account for 12pc of cases, up from 5pc in the week ending March 20, the Central Statistics Office showed yesterday.
More than one in two deaths from the virus have been in Dublin, but there are a significant number of counties where there have been fewer than 10 deaths since this crisis started.
Childcare providers hit out at lack of financial support as ‘play-pod’ guidelines issued
Crèches have been issued with a raft of new coronavirus guidelines but the Government has offered no detail on financial supports childcare providers insist they need to reopen.
‘Play pods’ of children who stay in the same groups and share the same toys, staggered arrival times and restrictions on the use of play dough are to become a feature of childcare in the coming months.
The Government is under pressure from the childcare sector and Opposition politicians to provide financial support to help crèches reopen their doors.
Doctors expecting surge in patients whose treatments have been on hold for months as private hospitals reopen
Doctors are expecting a surge in patients whose treatments and diagnosis have been on hold for months following the decision by the Government to scrap the takeover of private hospitals, reports Eilish O’Regan and Philip Ryan.
Source: Irish News