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The 9 at 9: Monday

The return of international travel, Australia’s lockdowns continue and CervicalCheck issues.

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Updated Jul 19th 2021, 8:45 AM

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

International travel

1. In our main story today, Rónán Duffy writes about what you need to know about the return of international travel. 

From today, the government advice against non-essential travel is no longer in force.

Horse euthanization

2. Bethany Langham reports that nearly 20,000 horses and other equine animals were euthanised in the Republic of Ireland between 2010 and 2020.

It represents more than 70% of the total number of equines seized under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 and the Control of Horses Act 1996 over the last decade.

Government figures also show that since 2014, there has been a steady decline in the number of horses and other equines seized in Ireland, with the number of seizures dropping from almost 5,000 in 2014 to 819 in 2020.

Courts Service

3. More than €123,000 was paid out in on-call allowances to Courts Service staff that should not have been paid, according to an internal audit.

The audit found that on-call allowances should only be paid in offices where there was a minimum of 12 callouts for out-of-hours or emergency court sittings each year.

However, the inquiry found multiple instances of money being paid out when this had not happened.

CervicalCheck

4. A capacity issue in the National CervicalCheck Screening Service has led to around 200 women’s samples going out of date, RTÉ News is reporting. 

It reports that in the 200 cases, HPV was found in the women’s samples but they were not sent on for cytology examination, within the window period of 42 days.

IRA murder

5. A fresh investigation in the IRA abduction and murder of farmer Tom Oliver has uncovered new DNA evidence, which investigators hope will lead to a prosecution.

Oliver, an innocent farmer from the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth, was abducted and shot by the IRA in July 1991.

The body of the father of seven was dumped across the border in Co Armagh.

England reopening

6. In England, all Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted on daily life today, with social distancing scrapped in a step slammed by scientists and opposition parties as a dangerous leap into the unknown.

From midnight, nightclubs were able to reopen and other indoor venues allowed to run at full capacity, while legal mandates covering the wearing of masks and working from home were scrapped.

Australia lockdown

7. Australia’s two largest cities are set to stay under tight Covid-19 restrictions as Melbourne today extended a five-day snap lockdown designed to curb a virulent outbreak.

About 12 million people are under lockdown in Melbourne and Sydney, where a month of restrictions has failed to quash an outbreak of the Delta variant.

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Australia had mostly dodged widespread community transmission in the 18 months since the pandemic began, but is now seeing more than 100 new cases a day, straining contact tracing efforts.

Katie Hopkins

8. The Australian government has ordered Katie Hopkins to be deported after what a senior minister called her “shameful” boast about flouting quarantine rules while in the country to appear on Big Brother VIP.

Hopkins arrived in Australia last week and was immediately placed under two weeks of quarantine in a government-mandated hotel, as per the country’s pandemic regulations.

On Saturday, the 46-year-old reportedly said in a since-deleted Instagram live video that she was deliberately disobeying quarantine rules by taunting guards and opening her hotel room door without a mask.

Brazil president

9. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has left hospital after being treated there since last week for an intestinal obstruction.

Bolsonaro, who was admitted to the Vila Nova Star Hospital in Sao Paulo on Wednesday because of abdominal pain and persistent hiccups, appeared to be in good spirits as he left and told journalists that he hoped to be eating barbecue ribs in 10 days.

Doctors had originally considered operating on the 66-year-old, but decided not to do so.

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