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The 9 at 9: Sunday

Vaccine registration opens for those aged 35-39, Brazil’s third wave, and Varadkar’s housing pledge.

Image: Shutterstock/jannoon028

GOOD MORNING. Here’s all the news that you need to know as you start your day.

Open season 

The HSE’s Covid-19 vaccine registration portal opened this morning for people aged 35-39. 

In this morning’s lead story, Michelle Hennessy writes that the HSE is expecting to move at a slower pace through this age cohort as there are large volumes of people involved and the vaccination programme will rely on supplies of just two brands of vaccine from next month. 

Here’s what readers wanted to know this week.

Ard Fheis 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has set a target of 70% home-ownership in Ireland by the end of this decade, a goal that would require up to 40,000 new homes built every year.

Speaking at the Fine Gael Ard Fhéis yesterday evening, the party’s leader said owning our own homes “is in our DNA” and acknowledged that this “dream is out of reach for far too many”.

Order 

John Bercow, the former Conservative MP who became the scourge of Brexiteers as Commons Speaker, says he has switched allegiances to join the Labour Party.

Bercow said he regards the Tories under British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “reactionary, populist, nationalistic and sometimes even xenophobic”.

Having stepped down as Speaker after 10 years in 2019, he announced yesterday that he joined Labour in recent weeks.

Delta variant

The Delta variant of the coronavirus now accounts for 99% of confirmed and probable cases across the UK – but there have been just 180 cases of the Delta variant identified in Ireland, which accounts for just 5% of sequenced cases.

So how has Ireland managed to keep Delta at bay? Dr Fidelma Fitzpatrick, consultant and senior lecturer in microbiology at the Royal College of Surgeons, believes vaccination and travel measures have been key to keeping levels of this variant low. 

Belgium Ban 

Belgium will ban entry to non-EU travellers from Britain in order to limit the spread of the Delta variant that has forced London to delay the lifting of its pandemic curbs. 

With Belgium’s restrictions, which already apply to South Africa, India and Brazil, only EU citizens or residents of Belgium will be able to enter the country. Those travellers will still have to meet tight quarantine rules as well as take covid tests before being free to move in Europe.

Fort Lauderdale 

One man died and another was seriously injured after being struck by a pick-up truck at a Pride parade in Florida last night. 

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Police say they are keeping an open mind on the motive behind the incident during the Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Parade in the city north of Fort Lauderdale.

Grafton Street 

A man in his late teens was taken to St James’ Hospital after an assault in Dublin city centre yesterday evening. 

Gardaí said they are investigating an alleged assault that took place near St Stephen’s Green at around 6pm.

Brazil’s third wave 

Brazil has become the second country after the United States to surpass 500,000 Covid-19 deaths as the South American nation grapples with a third wave of the pandemic.

In large cities, life seems almost back to normal with restaurants, bars and shops open and many people in the streets not wearing face masks. And yet the situation is critical in 19 of Brazil’s 27 states with more than 80% occupancy of intensive care beds – in nine of those states, it’s over 90%.

Givan take 

Northern Ireland first Minister Paul Givan has been told by will have to resign as Stormont leader once the new DUP leader takes over from Edwin Poots, who resigned on Thursday.

The current front runner for the DUP leadership is Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who narrowly lost to Poots in last month’s DUP leadership contest. Voting gets underway today.

 

About the author:

Adam Daly

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