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Malia Pena (foreground) and her mother, Lisa Torriente, wear masks as they visit the beach in Santa Monica, California, yesterday. Jae C Hong/AP/Press Association Images

Six more deaths in Ireland, Beijing says new outbreak 'under control': Today's Covid-19 main points

Here’s what Covid-related news is making the headlines today.

LAST UPDATE | 24 Jun 2020

A FURTHER SIX people with Covid-19 have died in Ireland, the Department of Health has confirmed.

Five new cases of the virus were also confirmed this evening. 

It means a total of 1,726 people have died with the disease in this country, and there have been 25,396 cases to date.

As of midnight on Monday, 22 June, 404,989 tests had been carried out in Ireland. Over the past week, 18,368 tests were carried out; 97 tests were positive, giving a positivity rate of 0.5%.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, said the success of the testing system is “dependent on people isolating and coming forward to their GP as soon as they experience symptoms”.

“Cough, fever, shortness of breath, change in smell or taste, flu like symptoms should be treated as COVID-19 until a GP assessment or test deems otherwise,” he added.

Internationally, more than nine million cases and over 471,000 deaths from the virus have now been confirmed. In the US, Dr Anthony Fauci has issued a warning about the “disturbing” surge in cases there. 

Here are today’s Covid-19 main points:

  • Six more people have died from the virus in Ireland and a further five cases have been diagnosed, according to the latest figures.
  • The government has been accused of creating divisions in west coast island communities over plans to re-open the region under the Covid-19 road map.
  • About 82% of Irish adults are willing to download a contact-tracing app to their smartphone to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new study. However, some people have raised privacy concerns about the app.
  • The Covid-19 infection rate of Irish healthcare workers is the highest in the world, INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha has told the Special Covid-19 committee. However, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has disputed some of the figures.
  • The HSE said today that the number of patients with Covid-19 in an ICU is 11 – a 93% reduction on its peak. The number of beds of confirmed cases is down to 37.
  • The testing positivity rate in Ireland is now 0.5%, and some 405,000 tests have been carried out. HSE chief Paul Reid said 8% of the population has been tested for Covid-19. 
  • The average number of close contacts of positive cases is now 4.6. Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said they are seeing positive cases in close contacts, clusters in domestic households as well as cases they “can’t account for”. Henry said some Covid-positive close contacts are asymptomatic.
  • The National Transport Authority has encouraged commuters to consider cycling or walking as alternatives to using public transport in the coming weeks.
  • Prison visits will begin again on 20 July, with all prisoners entitled to receive one physical visit per fortnight of 15 minutes or less. Prisoners will be allowed to opt for two video visits instead, while physical visits will be limited to one adult.
  • Drinks giant Diageo plans to launch a $100m (about €88.4 million) global fund to help pubs and bars recover as restrictions start to ease; €14 million will be allocated to Ireland.
  • Heart attack patients are waiting on average 18 hours longer before attending hospital to seek medical help since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, according to heart and stroke charity Croí.

Here are today’s international Covid-19 main points:

  • Some 9,063,264 cases of Covid-19 and 471,681 deaths have now been confirmed globally, according to the European centre for Disease Control.
  • The International Monetary Fund has said the worldwide economy will take a €10 trillion hit due to Covid-19. 
  • Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, has told a House of Representatives committee the next few weeks will be critical in dealing with the country’s “disturbing” coronavirus resurgence.
  • The outbreak that started early this month in Beijing is now “under control”, according to city officials, but the risk of community transmission remains. 
  • Medical experts have warned the British government to prepare for the “real risk” of a second wave of Covid-19 cases in an open letter as the country begins to re-open. 
  • Germany has ordered new lockdowns in two districts — the first since the easing of restrictions in the country.
  • Brazil’s Supreme Court has ordered President Jair Bolsonaro to wear face masks in public as the country deals with a huge outbreak of the virus.
  • Paris Fashion Week is still set to go ahead as planned in September, organisers said today. 

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