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Coronavirus Ireland Latest Updates: 2km exercise limit extended to 5km and over 70s allowed brief periods outside of home | #natoinalcybersecurity | #cybersecurity | #informationsecurity


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

20:20 01/05/2020

Trump claims on Covid-19 origins criticised as ‘conspiracy theory’

Donald Trump’s claim that the coronavirus outbreak could have originated in a Chinese laboratory has been labelled “unhelpful” because it risks undermining the public health response to the pandemic.

The US president said on Thursday that he had seen evidence that the virus came from an infectious disease laboratory in Wuhan, and suggested its release was a “mistake”.

But Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton, said on Friday: “We have good evidence from the genomics research that the virus is not man-made, and the scientific world has very much moved on from this idea.

“It is unhelpful for high-profile individuals to repeat the debunked conspiracy theories, as it undermines the public health response.”

19:50 01/05/2020

A full look at the road map to leaving lockdown

The Government has this evening published a Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business to ease the Covid 19 restrictions and reopen Ireland’s economy and society in a phased manner.

The Roadmap will start from May 18, from which point our country will re-open in a slow, phased way. The plan sets out five stages for unlocking restrictions, at three week intervals. As we ease restrictions, the rate of the virus in the community will be constantly monitored by the National Public Health Emergency Team and the Government.

The framework sets out how we can keep the level of transmission as low as possible while balancing continuing restrictions proportionately with the positive social and economic benefits which will be brought about by lifting restrictions.

In the meantime, the distance you can leave your home has been extended, so from next Tuesday it will be possible to go up to 5km for the purposes of exercise. People who are cocooning need to continue to do so, however it will be possible from Tuesday to go outside for exercise and fresh air, as with others in society, provided you keep within 5 km of your home and observe social distancing at all times.

There are five phases in the roadmap to ease restrictions. Each phase consists of a menu of options will be considered by Government as it gradually opens up economic and social activities.

A full look at the roadmap as it stands can be found here:

19:40 01/05/2020

Workplaces will be shut down if they breach distancing rules as part of lockdown exit strategy

Workplaces will be closed down for breaches of social distancing under plans being considered by the Government to reopen the economy.

With the Taoiseach set to unveil the country’s Covid-19 exit strategy, it has emerged the State will police businesses to ensure they are not putting customers or employees at risk of infection.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) will be given new powers to inspect and shut down workplaces if they do not comply with guidelines to be published soon for reopening businesses after the nationwide lockdown.

Business Minister Heather Humphreys is expected to tell the watchdog recently enacted emergency legislation can be used to close down businesses on public health grounds.

19:30 01/05/2020

Heathrow records 97pc drop in passenger numbers in April

The number of passengers travelling through Heathrow last month was down by around 97% compared with April 2019, the airport has announced.

It expects passenger demand will “remain weak” until governments around the world “deem it safe to lift travel restrictions”.

Heathrow recorded an 18.3pc year-on-year decline in demand to 14.6 million passengers between January and March, while earnings before tax and interest fell by 22.4pc to £315 million.

19:20 01/05/2020

Concern meat plants could emerge as next coronavirus blackspots as one closes and others understood to have clusters

Concerns are being raised that meat plants could emerge as a blackspot for Covid-19 infections, with one factory closed and a number understood to have clusters of Covid-19 cases.

The shutdown of plants, as seen in the United States could have a significant impact on the food supply chain and would devastate the incomes of livestock farmers already reeling from the closure of key markets.

Yesterday, the Minister for Agriculture confirmed in the Dail that his Department is aware of six clusters, five in processing plants and one in a deboning plant.

“There has been engagement by those meat plants. HSE staff and officials from my Department have been involved. The feedback to me is that there has been strong co-operation,” he said.

19:00 01/05/2020

Heathrow boss warns social distancing at airports is ‘physically impossible’

Introducing social distancing at airports is “physically impossible”, the boss of Heathrow has warned.

Chief executive John Holland-Kaye said a “better solution” is needed to make air travel safe as he called for the UK to lead the way in developing a common international standard of measures which could include temperature checks for all passengers.

He said: “Social distancing does not work in any form of public transport, let alone aviation.”

18:30 01/05/2020

2km exercise limit extended to 5km and over 70s allowed brief periods outside of home

Speaking at Government Buildings, an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has updated the public on the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

The 2km from home exercise limit has been extended to 5km while people over 70 have been advised that they may leave their homes for brief periods of activity outdoors from Tuesday at quiet times, Varadkar said.

There will be five stages to reopening the country, the Taoiseach said, spaced three weeks apart, beginning on May 18.

“The last few weeks have transformed our lives in so many ways,” Mr Varadkar said.

“As a nation our physical health has been attacked, our mental health battered, our economy eroded.

“For me the worst part has been the daily test message with the latest numbers of death and confirmed cases.

“We have to extend current restrictions until May 18.”

The latest updates in short are:

  • Current restrictions will last until May 18
  • Government has plan to loosen restrictions from May 18
  • From next Tuesday, 2km from home exercise limit has been extended to 5km
  • From next Tuesday cocooning over 70s can leave home for a drive or walk “as long as you are not in contact with anybody”
  • Until we have a vaccine or treatment there will be a long term need for physical distancing
  • Outdoor work like construction and landscaping will resume from May 18
  • Some garden and hardware stores to reopen on May 18
  • Some actives and sports to resume on May 18
  • Some recreation facilities like cinemas and theatres to reopen later than May 18
  • Schools and colleges to reopen in September
  • Cabinet to discuss getting enterprises back up and running and employees back to work tomorrow
  • 70pc of those diagnosed with Covid-19 have made a full recovery

May 18

  • Outdoors workers
  • Garden centres
  • Construction
  • Gardening
  • Fishing
  • Golf and tennis and angling

June 8

  • Some retail
  • Larger funerals
  • Small meetings allowed indoors
  • Marts and libraries

“The coronavirus is cruel an inhuman,” the Taoiseach concluded.

“The tragedy of every death is made far worse by the fact that we cannot come together to mourn loved ones.

“When we come through this we will come together as a nation and grieve this for everyone who has died.”

18:15 01/05/2020

Rangers keep up work to protect African wildlife despite pandemic

Wildlife rangers across Africa are continuing to protect animals and reserves despite the coronavirus pandemic, conservationists have said.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has released images of rangers at two projects it supports in Kenya and Zimbabwe continuing their work to look after threatened wildlife such as elephants.

But, because of Covid-19, they are not able to return to their homes and families between their shifts, while a lack of tourism has had a huge impact on local communities and economic pressure has increased the risk of poaching.

Rangers still hard at work include Team Lioness, eight women working to protect wildlife from poachers and safeguard people from conflicts with elephants and other animals in community lands that surround Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, on the border with Tanzania.

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Community rangers on patrol in Kenya (IFAW/ Will Swanson/PA)

18:00 01/05/2020

Independent TD claims over-70s are ‘prisoners’ in their own homes and it ‘may kill as many as Covid-19’

Independent TD Michael McNamara has said that cocooning has seen over-70s become “prisoners” in their own homes and claimed it “may ultimately kill as many as the Covid-19 virus.”

The Clare TD accused the government of “endlessly whipping up fear” in the age group and said that there is no legal restrictions requiring over-70s to stay at home.

He said the advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Tony Holohan is to ‘cocoon’ “but that is just advice, not the law of this State”.

17:46 01/05/2020

Breakdown of latest figures available

Latest data from the HPSC, as of midnight on Wednesday (20,510 cases), reveals:

  • 58pc are female and 42pc are male
  • The median age of confirmed cases is 49 years
  • 2,768 cases (13pc) have been hospitalised
  • Of those hospitalised, 367 cases have been admitted to ICU
  • 5,840 cases are associated with healthcare workers
  • Dublin has the highest number of cases at 10,170 (50pc of all cases) followed by Kildare with 1,215 cases (6pc) and then Cork with 1,154 cases (6pc)
  • Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 63pc, close contact accounts for 33pc, travel abroad accounts for 3pc

17:40 01/05/2020

34 more people have died with Covid-19 and 221 new cases have been confirmed

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been informed that a total of 34 people with COVID-19 have died.

There have now been a total of 1,265 COVID-19 related deaths in Ireland.

As of 11am Friday 1 May, the HPSC has been notified of 221 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. There is now a total of 20,833 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

The HSE is working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

17:20 01/05/2020

Boris Johnson promises ‘comprehensive plan’ on easing UK lockdown

Boris Johnson has promised to deliver a “comprehensive plan” next week on how the lockdown may be eased after declaring the UK is “past the peak” of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Prime Minister said on Thursday he would be producing a “road map, a menu of options” explaining how to get the economy moving and children back to school while still suppressing the disease’s spread.

Testing is a key part of the strategy in any effort to ease restrictions, and the public may find out on Friday if the Government reached its target of carrying out 100,000-a-day by the end of Thursday.

17:00 01/05/2020

Clear disparity between ethnic groups in Covid-19 deaths – IFS study

Coronavirus fatalities among black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups are disproportionately high – and some are also bearing the economic brunt of the lockdown, a study has found.

Per capita deaths among the Black Caribbean population in English hospitals are three times those of white British people, the Institute for Fiscal studies report said.

The study also found BAME men are more likely to be in jobs affected by the shutdown of large parts of the economy.

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Extract from the IFS report on the impact of coronavirus on BAME groups (Institute for Fiscal Studies/PA)

16:40 01/05/2020

Free virtual cybersecurity school launched for teenagers in lockdown

Free virtual lessons on cybersecurity are to be offered to thousands of young people in lockdown as part of a government scheme to develop cyber skills.

The Cyber Discovery virtual school will be aimed at students aged between 13 and 18, offering educational games and activities which build cybersecurity skills.

Teenagers can sign up for the school for free in order to gain access to its central interactive game, as well as free weekly webinars from industry experts.

The new online tool will be an extension of an existing scheme run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – its annual CyberFirst summer courses for about 1,000 students designed to improve cyber skills in young people.

16:20 01/05/2020

Robots deployed to greet and clean at Japan hotel for Covid-19 patients

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A humanoid robot Pepper wearing a face mask is placed at the door at the lobby of a hotel (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Robot staff are operating at a Tokyo hotel used for mildly sick Covid-19s patients under a new plan to free up beds at hospitals overburdened with more severe cases.

Pepper, a talking robot, greeted new guests at the lobby, while Whiz, a cleaning robot, operates in areas where patients pick up meals and other daily necessities to reduce infection risks for human staff.

Pepper, wearing a white surgical mask, greeted Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike as she walked into the hotel during Friday’s demonstration.

Pepper also reminds patients to check their temperature and rest well.

16:00 01/05/2020

China uses lockdown to survey and clean up Mount Everest

China sent scientists to climb Mount Everest while the world’s highest peak is empty of commercial climbers because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

China and Nepal cancelled spring climbing on their sides of the mountain to prevent infections from spreading as expedition teams travelled to the region and lived for weeks in tightly-packed camps at high altitudes with little access to emergency medical help.

The official Xinhua News Agency said a 53-member team from the Ministry of National Resources has been conducting preliminary scientific work since early March and survey work on the mountain is due to begin this month.

China’s network of Beidou satellites, a rival to America’s Global Positioning System, will be used in a survey to determine the mountain’s current height and natural resources, along with other domestically developed surveying technology, Xinhua quoted a ministry team leader, Li Guopeng, as saying.

15:40 01/05/2020

Almost a quarter of companies have ceased trading – CSO survey

Almost a quarter of companies that responded to the survey by the Central Statistics Office say they have ceased trading temporarily while a third have let staff go.

The online survey was sent to a sample of 3,000 businesses and the information was collected between Monday 20 and Friday 24 April. The response rate to the survey was 26.4pc, the CSO said.

“The results show that of the enterprises that responded to the Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey, 23.3pc had ceased trading temporarily during the period 16 March to 19 April, 0.6pc had ceased trading permanently, and 76pc continued to trade,” statistician, Colin Hanley, said in a statement.

15:20 01/05/2020

Beijing reopens parks and museums following Covid-19 pandemic

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Visitors wearing face masks to protect against the new coronavirus walk through the Forbidden City (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

Parks and museums in China’s capital city have reopened after shutting their doors during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Forbidden City is among the many attractions to be welcoming visitors, but only 5,000 people will be allowed to visit the past home of China’s emperors in Beijing, down from 80,000.

Large-scale group activities in remain on hold and visitors must book tickets to visit parks, according to Gao Dawei, deputy director of the Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau.

Beijing has downgraded its level of emergency response to the virus from first to second tier, but temperature checks and social distancing remain in force.

15:00 01/05/2020

Trump claims to have seen proof coronavirus originated from Wuhan laboratory

Donald Trump has claimed to have seen evidence that the coronavirus outbreak originated from an infectious disease laboratory in Wuhan.

The US president speculated that China could have unleashed Covid-19 on the world due to some kind of horrible “mistake”, and even put forward the idea the release was intentional.

It comes as his intelligence agencies said they are still examining a notion put forward by the president and aides that the pandemic may have resulted from an accident at a Chinese lab.

This comes despite US intelligence agencies concluding yesterday that Covid-19 was “not man-made or genetically modified”.

14:20 01/05/2020

Aer Lingus in talks with unions over hundreds of potential job cuts

Aer Lingus will negotiate with unions about staff cuts of up to 900 jobs at the airline.

It comes as Ryanair announced up to 3,000 jobs across pilots and cabin crew could be cut “as a direct result of the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis”.

An Aer Lingus spokesman said: “Aer Lingus is continuing to communicate directly with our employees and engage with their representative bodies.”

13:10 01/05/2020

Irish doctors urge people to stay at home over bank holiday

Doctors in Ireland have urged people to maintain social distancing guidelines and stay at home over the long weekend.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) warned the public to continue to keep their guard up because this Covid-19 virus has not been beaten.

Speaking ahead of the bank holiday weekend, Dr Padraig McGarry, president of the IMO, said healthcare workers had huge appreciation for the sacrifices the public were making.

He added: “As tough as it is to be apart from loved ones and friends for such a long period of time, we must remember that we are doing the right thing by keeping our distance from each other and following the guidelines of the Government and public health experts.

12:10 01/05/2020

Almost a quarter of companies have ceased trading – CSO survey

Almost a quarter of companies that responded to the survey by the Central Statistics Office say they have ceased trading temporarily while a third have let staff go.

The online survey was sent to a sample of 3,000 businesses and the information was collected between Monday 20 and Friday 24 April. The response rate to the survey was 26.4pc, the CSO said.

“The results show that of the enterprises that responded to the Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey, 23.3pc had ceased trading temporarily during the period 16 March to 19 April, 0.6pc had ceased trading permanently, and 76pc continued to trade,” statistician, Colin Hanley, said in a statement.

10:40 01/05/2020

China uses lockdown to survey and clean up Mount Everest

China sent scientists to climb Mount Everest while the world’s highest peak is empty of commercial climbers because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

China and Nepal cancelled spring climbing on their sides of the mountain to prevent infections from spreading as expedition teams travelled to the region and lived for weeks in tightly-packed camps at high altitudes with little access to emergency medical help.

The official Xinhua News Agency said a 53-member team from the Ministry of National Resources has been conducting preliminary scientific work since early March and survey work on the mountain is due to begin this month.

08:15 01/05/2020

Irish people spent more money on day lockdown was announced than they did over Christmas, AIB data reveals

Irish people spent more money in the supermarket on the day that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the country was entering lockdown than on Christmas week last year, new data shows.

An AIB analysis of over one million transactions between March 8 and April 11 has found that after the Taoiseach’s announcement on March 12, spending was 17 pc higher than a normal weekday, and 20 pc higher when compared with the previous Thursday.

Grocery spend on this day alone 20 pc higher than the average spend during Christmas week last year.

Consumers spent on average €76 per grocery store transaction on this day, 60 pc higher than the previous Thursday, when the average transaction average was €48.

Spending for groceries has increased by 30 pc since Covid-19 started to impact Ireland.

Shoppers spent 4 pc more than usual on Friday, March 13, but panic buying seemed to subside quickly as every day after March 13 has seen a significant drop in spending.

St Patrick’s Day recording a 47 pc drop in average spending, the lowest of any day since the crisis started.

The data also revealed over 65s have recorded the biggest drop in spending, with spending down 27 pc among this age group.

Spending by those under 25 recorded a drop of 21 pc, while those between the ages of 35-44 recorded a drop of 13 pc, the smallest decline of any age group.

Dublin customers recorded the biggest drop in spending (21 pc), while Meath and Kildare both experienced a drop of 19 pc, and Wicklow falling 18 pc below the usual levels.

Donegal recorded the lowest drop in spending at 12 pc.

The analysis also found that Irish consumers have started to spend more online, with online clothing retailers performing strongly.

The biggest online spending increase on a single day was on Good Friday, Friday April 10, when consumers spent 107 pc more than normal on clothing.

08:10 01/05/2020

Ryanair to cut 3,000 jobs as airline says recovery will take two years

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Chief executive Michael O’Leary, whose pay was cut by 50% for April and May, has agreed to extend the reduction for the remainder of the financial year to March 2021. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Ryanair has said it expects up to 3,000 jobs to be lost as part of a restructuring of the airline.

The budget airline group announced that a restructuring programme could also involve unpaid leave and pay slashed by up to 20%, as well as the closure of “a number of aircraft bases across Europe” until demand for air travel recovers.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary, whose pay was cut by 50% for April and May, has agreed to extend the reduction for the remainder of the financial year to March 2021.

Ryanair said its flights will remain grounded until “at least July” and passenger numbers will not return to 2019 levels “until summer 2022 at the earliest”.

08:00 01/05/2020

We couldn’t cope with new surge of virus, warns top scientist

Another coronavirus surge similar to the rapid onset of the infection here would be very difficult to manage, a senior official has warned.

Professor Philip Nolan of Maynooth University, who is leading a team tracking the spread of the virus, said the number of people in intensive care remained “significantly elevated”.

“Currently, there are 106 patients in ICU,” he said.

“If a similar surge occurred on top of our current ICU figure, we would find it very difficult to manage the treatment of patients. This reflects the sensitivity required in relaxing restrictions.”

Another 43 people with Covid-19 have died, bringing the death toll to 1,232.

08:00 01/05/2020

Coronavirus: Just 54 health staff put to work despite 73,000 answering Ireland’s call

Just 54 of the health staff who answered the ‘Be On Call for Ireland’ recruitment drive in the battle against coronavirus have taken up their posts so far, the Irish Independent can reveal.

Concern has been raised about the “startling” low number of staff that has been put in place after a campaign that led to 73,000 people applying.

The high-profile recruitment campaign was launched on St Patrick’s Day to bolster the capacity of the health service to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.

But while more than 1,600 candidates have been successful at interview, the HSE has confirmed that just 54 people have been placed in jobs.

Online Editors

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