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Emergency powers for gardaí, and 224 people in ICU: Today's Covid-19 main points

There are now a total of 6,074 confirmed cases in Ireland, and 235 deaths.

Chief Medical Officer, Tony Holohan
Chief Medical Officer, Tony Holohan
Image: LEAH FARRELL

Updated Apr 8th 2020, 9:21 PM

THE DEATH TOLL from Covid-19 in Ireland is now at 235, after the latest figures were announced this evening, with the total number of cases currently sitting at 6,074. 

There are now 224 people in ICU with the Covid-19 disease, and the median age of the 25 additional people who died today was 80.

The impact of the virus on various sectors and industries has continued to emerge, with students at third level education being told that all in-person written and oral exams have been cancelled. 

Meanwhile, warmer weather is on the way for the coming days and has led the government to sign into law new emergency measures granting gardaí the power to arrest and detain individuals flouting the Covid-19 restrictions. 

Here are today’s Covid-19 main points:

  • It was announced this evening that a further 25 people diagnosed with Covid-19 in Ireland have died, and a further 325 cases have been confirmed.
  • Higher and further education exams won’t be taking place in examination centres during the Covid-19 emergency, Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor has confirmed.
  • Clarity on the Junior and Leaving Certificate exams is expected to be given by the Minister of Education Joe McHugh in the next few days.
  • Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer said the majority of people who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus are recovering well in their own homes.
  • Simon Harris last night signed new regulations which will give gardaí the powers to enforce Covid-19 distancing measures tonight, while Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has insisted gardaí will only use their new powers as a last resort. 
  • The number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in a hospital setting in Northern Ireland has risen to 78, with five more fatalities reported today. 
  • The record number of Covid-19 clusters in nursing homes has more than doubled over a four-day period. 
  • The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has today warned that gardaí should only use new emergency powers to arrest and detain people flouting Covid-19 regulations “as minimally as possible, if at all”.
  • Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will hold a conference call later today with religious leaders from a number of different faiths to discuss the current Covid-19 crisis.
  • The Department of Social Protection has acknowledged that recipients of the new Covid-19 illness benefit have received the usual payment rate of €203, rather than the increased rate of €350.
  • Freephone services have been launched by Ireland’s five main banks to help cocooning customers make payments and carry out other banking services.
  • Galway and Waterford City Councils have asked people to stop discarding plastic gloves on the ground after using them, as more people wear plastic protective equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The chief medical officer at the Department of Health has indicated that measures aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19 will remain in place beyond this week.
  • Tesco announced changes to its home delivery services to help the company to provide more delivery slots to over 65s and customers most in need. 

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

  • US president Donald Trump has threatened to cease sending US funds to the World Health Organisation (WHO), claiming that the international body “missed the call” on the coronavirus pandemic.
  • UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak said Boris Johnson’s condition is “improving” and that the Prime Minister was now “sitting up in bed” after spending two nights in intensive care with coronavirus,.
  • A further 828 people have died from Covid-19 in England, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related fatalities there to 6,483.
  • Downing Street has said that lockdown measures in the UK will be reviewed around the three-week mark on Monday. 
  • American folk legend John Prine, widely considered one of his generation’s most influential songwriters, died following complications of coronavirus today, his publicist told AFP on behalf of his family.
  • Authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated, have lifted the ban on travel leaving the city with thousands leaving within hours of it being lifted. 
  • EU finance ministers have failed to agree on a bailout plan to help hard hit member states face the coronavirus outbreak, after Italy refused to abandon its plea for “coronabonds” to share the burden.
  • The World Health Organisation has warned there is a global shortage of nurses in a new report published today. 

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