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Tony Holohan advises ministers over 2m advice and the EU's €750 billion fund: Today's Covid-19 main points

Here’s what’s making headlines in relation to Covid-19 both here and abroad.

Image: Sam Boal/

THE CHIEF MEDICAL Officer Dr Tony Holohan met with the Cabinet today and briefed ministers on the country’s response to Covid-19.

A number of ministers had expressed concern about the ongoing 2m social distancing advice but Holohan said NPHET’s advice would not be changing. 

Meanwhile, those entering the country will be required to fill out a form and asked to self-isolate for 14 days from tomorrow – although Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary is among those unhappy with the measure, claiming it has no basis in science.

There has also been a stark warning from the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council.

The group has warned that the Covid-19 crisis will deliver a “prolonged and severe” shock to the Irish economy, and has called for a “significant” stimulus to be introduced when the crisis is over.

Some of that may come from Europe: on the international front, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen looks has proposed a post-virus recovery fund of €750 billion for the union.

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This will be an extra €500 billion on top of the €540 billion already announced as part of the EU bailout fund and other fiscal packages. 

Here are today’s Covid-19 main points: 

  • Health officials have confirmed a further 17 deaths of patients diagnosed with Covid-19 and 73 new cases of the disease in Ireland.
  • Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has told Cabinet ministers he does not intend to advise that the 2 metre social distancing rule should be reduced. 
  • The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council has warned that “adjustments of €6–€14 billion over 2023–2025″could be required due to the pandemic
  • Correspondence between Nursing Homes Ireland and the Department of Health since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis has been published
  • Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin has said he does not agree with the 5km or the 20km limit set out under the first two phases of the government’s roadmap for reopening the economy.
  • Health Minister Simon Harris says his department received Hiqa’s list of 19 “high risk” nursing homes on 13 March. The HSE was made aware of it, and actions were taken, said the minister.
  • The CMO said last night that health officials are looking at ways they could safely allow nursing home residents and their families to reunite in the coming weeks.
  • Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has criticised the requirement for people to self-isolate for two weeks when they arrive in Ireland
  • John Waters and Gemma O’Doherty are to appeal the High Court’s refusal to grant them permission to challenge laws introduced by the State due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 
  • The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has warned against a “cliff edge” removal of supports given to workers during the pandemic, claiming that the length and depth of the economic downturn will be determined by the State’s response to it.
  • 100% of over 900 primary school principals surveyed have admitted psychological challenges in trying to cope with the pressures presented by the pandemic, according to research by Maynooth University.
  • A clear link has been found between a decrease in air pollution and Covid-19 movement restrictions, new research by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows.
  • All of McDonald’s drive-thrus in Ireland will reopen by next Thursday 4 June. 

Here are today’s international Covid-19 points: 

  • The Covid-19 death toll in the US has surpassed 100,000 people – the highest of any country in the world – Johns Hopkins University has confirmed.
  • The EU Commission is proposing a €750 billion recovery fund to help the bloc’s economy through the deep recession induced by the coronavirus pandemic. The proposed package consists of €500 billion in grants and €250 billion in loans
  • More than 350,000 deaths from Covid-19 have been recorded worldwide.
  • US presidential hopeful Joe Biden has called Donald Trump a “fool” for “stoking deaths” with his stance on wearing face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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