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Coronavirus Ireland Latest Updates: How hospitals will have to change after the pandemic

Independent.ie reporters keeping you up to date with the latest coronavirus news in Ireland and across the world.

11:15 6/05/2020

European Commission says economy to shrink 8pc

The European Commission said today that its base case was for Ireland’s economy to shrink 8pc this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but it warned that it could be far worse, depending on the outcome of Brexit and changes to international tax laws.

Overall, the Commission’s new “Spring Forecasts” projected that the European Union economy would shrink by 7.5pc this year with the smallest contraction seen in Poland at minus 4.25pc and the largest in Greece at 9.75pc.

“In the current quarter, economic output in the EU is set to be almost 16pc lower than in the last quarter of 2019,” the Commission said in a statement.

10:20 6/05/2020

White House aiming to wind down coronavirus taskforce

The Trump administration is aiming to wind down its coronavirus taskforce in the coming month as the president shifts his focus from battling an “invisible enemy” to rebooting the economy.

Its members have become fixtures on television sets across the nation, with Americans hungry for information and marooned at home, but the White House has begun discussions about winding down the group, which has been meeting less frequently, vice president Mike Pence said.

“I think we’re having conversations about that and about what the proper time is for the taskforce to complete its work and for the ongoing efforts to take place on an agency-by-agency level,” Mr Pence said, adding that the group could wind down by early June.

9:20 6/05/2020

Emergency Covid-19 support payments to be made more ‘affordable’ – Paschal Donohoe

CHANGES to make the Government’s welfare payments more affordable will be made over the coming weeks, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said.

Mr Donohoe said the payments will continue but will be altered “in a way that is affordable”.

He said a pathway for both payments will be considered over the next few weeks.

“They are going to continue in a form, but the level of those payments are and how they will be made available to the economy is something that the government will make a decision on soon,” Mr Donohoe told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“They are costing many hundreds of millions of euros per week. And what I and the government will aim to do is change those payments in a way that is affordable but also makes sense for our citizens,” he said.

08:15 6/05/2020

State racks up deficit of €7.5bn with emergency spending

A surge in spending as more than a million workers were forced on to welfare payments by the pandemic lockdown plunged the Government finances €7.5bn into the red in April.

The Exchequer deficit was €4.28bn more than that recorded in April of last year and the Department of Finance warned the budget position would deteriorate even faster in coming months as the shock from the lockdown and the cliff-edge in consumer spending rippled through the economy.

“In particular, April is a non-VAT due month which means the scale of the shock to VAT receipts will likely only be apparent in May’s returns,” the department said.

7:10 6/05/2020

Government cut advice on masks from its roadmap

Public health advice on face coverings was removed from the Government’s roadmap for reopening the country.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) recommended publishing guidelines for “wearing face coverings in the community” by the second phase of the plan, on June 8.

However, this recommendation was deleted from the final version of the Government’s ‘Roadmap for Reopening Society and the Economy’.

07:05 6/05/2020

Waiting rooms in your car: How hospitals will have to chance after the pandemic

More patients who have hospital and GP appointments will be asked to wait in their car until they are ready to be seen as part of a radical shift in the way care is delivered due to the coronavirus crisis.

Hospitals and family doctors are hoping to ramp up treatments for non-Covid patients in the coming weeks, amid concern about a backlog of waiting lists and a reluctance among the public to seek emergency treatment.

Dublin GP Dr John O’Brien, who has been seconded by the HSE to oversee primary care during the crisis, said it was “easier to slam the brakes” – where appointments were deferred over the last two months – than to take them off.

“You do not want to expose anyone to unnecessary risk of getting the virus.

“There will be more virtual consultations where the patient is contacted by phone or online,” he said.

7:00 6/05/2020

Ban on non-Covid-related surgery is lifted as health chiefs widen criteria for virus testing

A blanket ban on non-Covid related surgeries, introduced at the start of the nationwide lockdown, has been lifted.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) decided hospitals can return to taking non-elective surgery appointments.

It is up to individual hospitals to decide how many cases they can take.

Nphet wrote to the HSE making it aware the ban on surgeries introduced at the beginning of the crisis has now been lifted.

Hospital waiting lists have been rising steadily during the coronavirus crisis.

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