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Coronavirus Ireland Live Updates: Five deaths and further 38 cases confirmed

Follow the latest coronavirus news in Ireland and across the world on the Independent.ie live blog.

19.32 04/06/2020

Lockdown restrictions for children and nursing home residents to ease from next week – Harris


Minister for health Simon Harris (Oireachtas TV)

Lockdown restrictions for children and nursing home residents will be eased from next week despite an increase in the ‘R’ figure – known as the rate of infection, Health Minister Simon Harris said today

It is expected next week’s phase two of the roadmap to reopen the country will see the go ahead for summer camps, playgrounds, classes for special needs children and guidelines to allow visits to nursing homes and other residential centres.

However, he told the Dail today that since the first phase of roadmap which started nearly three weeks ago the R figure has slightly increased.

No gigs, no dates, no fun: Young people are facing a summer of discontent


Rachel Farrell was looking forward to nights out and partying, but instead has to resort to learning Beyoncé dances on TikTok like Electric Picnic

Journalist Rachel Farrell was looking forward to sunny months filled with beer, boys and boogie nights. Instead she’s stuck in her parents’ box room, going nowhere

Move to one-metre social distancing, with staycations from June 29 – Ireland’s Tourism Recovery Taskforce

The Government is being urged to consider a move to one-metre social distancing and to allow people travel beyond 20km of their homes from June 29 to save Ireland’s tourism industry.

A delayed reopening of schools, allowing bars and pubs to welcome customers from July 20 and removing the two-week self-isolation period for visitors from “safe” destinations are also being suggested.

The issues are highlighted in an eight-point list submitted to Government today by Ireland’s new Tourism Recovery Taskforce (TRT), which has been charged with preparing a Recovery Plan for an industry devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

17.48 04/06/2020

Five further deaths and 38 new cases announced

The coronavirus death toll in Ireland has risen to 1,664 after five further deaths were recorded.

38 new cases have also been confirmed.

In total, there have been 25,142 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, as of midnight, Tuesday 2 June (25,104 cases), reveals:

  • 57pc are female and 43pc are male
  • the median age of confirmed cases is 48 years
  • 3,311 cases (13pc) have been hospitalised
  • Of those hospitalised, 410 cases have been admitted to ICU
  • 8,025 cases are associated with healthcare workers
  • Dublin has the highest number of cases at 12,109 (48pc of all cases) followed by Cork with 1,521 cases (6pc) and then Kildare with 1,419 cases (6pc).
  • Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 39pc, close contact accounts for 59pc, travel abroad accounts for 2pc.

16.38 04/06/2020

Ireland increases funding to global vaccine alliance by 20pc to €18m


Leo Varadkar after a media briefing on coronavirus outside Government Buildings (Photocall Ireland/PA)

Reports Gabija Gataveckaite

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar urged for a coronavirus vaccine to be affordable “as well as effective”.

Speaking at UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s virtual vaccine summit this afternoon, he said that a vaccine will also need to be distributed “fairly”.

“A vaccine for Covid-19 will need to be affordable as well as effective, because if we are to be safe, everyone will need to be safe. So a Covid 19 vaccine will need to be distributed equitably, fairly and globally,” he said.

“Nobody can be left behind, or we will all be at risk.”

The virtual vaccine summit was hosted by the UK government, where world leaders pledged their support for Gavi, the vaccine alliance.

Ireland is increasing its funding contribution to Gavi by 20pc to €18 million over the five years 2021-25, to help in the global effort to develop a Covid 19 vaccine and to support vaccination programmes worldwide.

The summit aims to raise at least $7.4 billion USD to support Gavi’s work to immunise the world’s poorest children, and to ensure that everyone has access to a vaccine for Covid-19.

Over the period 2021-25, Gavi aims to immunise an additional 300 million children.

16.07 04/06/2020

Children will be washing their hands on the way into school when the academic year starts – taoiseach

Katherine Donnelly, Education Editor

Children will be washing their hands on the way into school when they return in late August/September, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said today.

The reopening of schools will also bring a ban on congregation at entrances and a reconfiguration of classrooms, he said.

A roadmap on the return of schools will be published next Friday, but Mr Varadkar and Education Minister Joe McHugh touched on the issue, in the Dáil today.

Mr McHugh said he wanted to see the maximum return to school possible in late August and September consistent with the need to do this in a safe way.

The Minister said he was confident that the current social distancing rules would be changed before schools reopen.

Mr McHugh said he was very close attention to the experience of countries which have re-opened schools, and to emerging scientific evidence and was engaging with his counterparts in the North, the UK and across Europe on the issue

He said the range of issues being considered in the context of school re-opening included, enhanced cleaning and the importance of good hand hygiene and good respiratory practices.

He said this would require training for staff and communication with families promote these hygiene and infection prevention and control measures;

The Minister said there would also be a focus on promoting children’s wellbeing.

15.56 04/06/2020

Lifting lockdown: All major retail outlets to be permitted to open from next Monday


A woman wearing a face mask walks along a high street in Walthamstow, east London (Victoria Jones/PA)

Ikea, Penneys, and H&M are among the stores expected to reopen next week, reports Political Editor Philip Ryan

15.22 04/06/2020

‘He is a miracle’ – family’s joy as dad returns home after spending 32 days on ventilator during coronavirus fight


(L-R) Colm Lawlor, Éamonn Lawlor, Dónal Lawlor and Aileen Lawlor outside of their home in Irishtown

Donal Lawlor has finally returned home after a battle with coronavirus that saw him spend 32 days on a ventilator, reports Fiona Dillon.

40pc of workers think their employer’s response to pandemic has been ‘okay’ to ‘poor’, according to new research

Gabija Gataveckaite

Two in five workers feel that their employer’s response to the pandemic has been “okay” to “poor”, according to new research.

Recruitment agency Hays Ireland Wellbeing Matters: What Workers Want Report 2020 also shows that communication is the main area that employers should report in, with 50pc reporting this to be the case, and 59pc saying that job security has become more important since the lockdown was imposed.

The survey was carried out between April 23 and May 4 and received 1,700 responses from both professionals and employers.

Over three-quarters of Irish employees believe their employer has a responsibility to provide wellbeing support to employees during the coronavirus pandemic and 45pc of employers currently provide such supports, according to new research published by Hays Ireland.

Almost 40pc of employees rated the current quality of their work-life balance as “average” or “poor”, with 31 pc saying that a lack of social interaction being the greatest challenge to their overall wellbeing.

Online doctors and counselling has also emerged as being one of the most in-demand wellbeing supports listed by employees, with 18pc reporting this to be the case.

36pc also said that they want to prioritise their health and wellbeing in the future.

Commenting on the report, Maureen Lynch, Director of Hays Ireland, said that the pandemic has “changed” the way we work.

“The coronavirus has changed the way we work and how employees perceive the workplace. This presents challenges and opportunities for employers, who must now adapt to new ways of working and better understand their employees’ motivations,” she said.

‘Breaking even will be the new profit margin’ when restaurants reopen, warns leading chef


Concerns: Chef Richy Virahsawmy says that restaurants are going to need help, ranging from a lower VAT rate to an extension of employment subsidy schemes

A leading chef has warned that the reopening of the Irish hospitality sector after the pandemic lockdown will be virtually impossible with a two-metre social distancing rule, reports Ralph Riegel.

13.40 4/06/2020

Call for Government to publish plan to reopen healthcare service

Cate McCurry

Labour leader Alan Kelly has called for the Government to publish a plan to reopen non-Covid-19 healthcare services.

He said there is growing concern over the impact on people’s health as many vital services remain closed to patients.

Health experts have said there is a risk of a jump in secondary deaths if some life-saving services are not reopened.

Speaking outside Leinster House, Mr Kelly said he wants the Government to publish a clear plan to reopen the healthcare service.

“The plan is late. It was promised on two different occasions but we still haven’t got it and this is a significant worry because of non-Covid preventable deaths and the whole issue of service provision for people is a real concern to us,” he said.

12:40 4/06/2020

Emirates to resume flights from Dublin to Dubai from June 15

Pól Ó Conghaile

Passengers can fly from Dublin with Emirates from June 15, the airline says.

Following the UAE’s decision to lift restrictions on transit passengers services, the airline now plans to expand its schedule to include flights between Dubai and 16 cities from that date.

The cities are Dublin, Bahrain, Manchester, Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, New York JFK, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Hong Kong, Perth and Brisbane.

The Dublin service will run twice weekly on a Boeing 777-300ER.

10:30 4/06/2020

Business group warns ‘conservative’ lifting of lockdown will prolong downturn

Aine McMahon, PA

Business and employers’ group Ibec has warned that the Government’s “conservative” approach to lifting Covid-19 restrictions will prolong the economic downturn.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) meets on Thursday to discuss the road map for reopening the country.

The Government’s five-stage approach to easing the lockdown will keep many of the restrictions in place until August 10.

From Monday, small retail outlets can reopen with a small number of staff provided the retailer can control the number of customers that enter the store.

People who can work safely while maintaining a two-metre distance from others will be able to return to work.

Ibec said in its latest quarterly update that the Government was reopening the economy at a slower pace than in other countries and this would result in a higher rate of unemployment and a larger budget deficit by the end of the year.

08:20 4/06/2020

‘We should have done more,’ admits Swedish health chief

Richard Orange

Sweden’s state epidemiologist has said the country should have imposed greater restrictions to bring its coronavirus epidemic under control – the first time he has expressed doubts about his decision not to impose a lockdown.

In an interview with Sweden’s state radio broadcaster SR, Anders Tegnell said that, given Sweden’s stubbornly high death rate, he no longer believed that he and the Public Health Agency had got the balance right.

“If we were hit by the same disease, knowing exactly what we know today, I think we would end up doing something between what Sweden has done and what the rest of the world has done,” he said yesterday.

“I think there’s room for improvement in what we’ve done in Sweden, absolutely.”

07:15 4/06/2020

WHO resumes trial of anti-malaria drug ‘to get definitive answer on whether it works on Covid’

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will resume its trial of hydroxychloroquine for potential use against the coronavirus, its chief said yesterday, after those running the study briefly stopped giving it to new patients over concerns.

The UN agency last month paused the part of its large study of treatments against Covid-19 in which newly enrolled patients were getting the anti-malarial drug to treat Covid-19 due to fears it increased death rates and irregular heartbeats.

The study continued with other medicines.

But the WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said its experts had advised the continuation of all trials including hydroxychloroquine, whose highest-profile backer for use against Covid-19 is US President Donald Trump.

“The executive group will communicate with the principal investigators in the trial about resuming the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial,” Dr Tedros told an online media briefing, referring to WHO’s initiative to hold clinical tests of potential Covid-19 treatments on some 3,500 patients in 35 countries.

07:10 4/06/2020

Italy reopens its borders to tourists ‘in message to the world’

Nick Squires

Italy yesterday reopened its borders to European tourists after a three-month lockdown in which 33,500 people lost their lives to coronavirus.

Italy became the first European country to fully take the step and visitors from the UK and the EU will not have to go into 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Italy.

A ban on travelling between Italy’s 20 regions was also lifted – since March such journeys were prohibited unless they were for urgent work or health reasons. It meant families could be reunited after three months of separation.

“We did it, with the sacrifice of everyone,” said Francesco Boccia, Italy’s minister for regional affairs.

07:00 4/06/2020

Pandemic payment to be cut by 40pc for part-time workers

Philip Ryan

The pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) for part-time workers will be slashed as part of the Government’s plan to reduce the massive welfare bill caused by the coronavirus.

The €350-per-week payment will be cut to €203 in line with the jobseeker’s allowance paid to the unemployed.

Meanwhile, the payment for full-time workers will be phased out over time under plans being brought to Cabinet this week by Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty.

The pandemic payment is due to expire next Monday, but the Government has signalled it will be extending the emergency scheme to assist those who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 restrictions.

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