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Four additional deaths in Ireland, and Cummings' actions defended as 'sensible': Today's Covid-19 main points

Here are the main stories about the pandemic today.

eople walk on new pedestrian lanes on Chesterfield Avenue in Dublin's Phoenix Park
eople walk on new pedestrian lanes on Chesterfield Avenue in Dublin's Phoenix Park
Image: Brian Lawless via PA Images

Updated May 24th 2020, 5:45 PM

TODAY HAS BEEN dominated by calls for British PM Boris Johnson’s senior government aide Dominic Cummings to resign amid allegations that he has broken lockdown restrictions several times to make a 260-mile visit to Durham.

This afternoon, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon backed calls for Cummings to resign, on a matter of “integrity” – but Johnson has defended him, saying he acted “legally, responsibly, and with integrity”.

Here in Ireland, four additional deaths were announced, and 57 new confirmed cases. This brings Ireland’s total to 1,608 Covid-19 related deaths, and a total of 24,639 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Yesterday afternoon, HSE chief executive, Paul Reid, urged the public to “hold firm” over Covid-19 restriction measures.

He acknowledged that the public are worried about jobs and bills, but added that there “are bright days ahead”.

Here are today’s Covid-19 main points: 

  • A further 4 people have died from Covid-19 in Ireland, the Department of Health said.
  • Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said there will be no change to the two-metre social distancing guidelines. 
  • The number of people attending emergency departments across the country is slowly increasing as Covid-19 is suppressed in the community. 
  • Health Minister Simon Harris has warned that people should not get ahead of themselves, as the country nears the end of the first week of Covid-19 restrictions being eased, RTÉ has reported
  • Trócaire has launched an urgent appeal for supporters to return donations from their boxes online or over the phone.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t ruined all independent bookshops, as the crisis shows just how hardy some of Ireland’s smaller operators can be.

Here are today’s international Covid-19 points: 

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under renewed pressure to sack his closest aide after allegations that Dominic Cummings broke lockdown rules for a second time – but has backed his actions to the hilt, as “sensible and defensible”.
  • In the rest of that UK press conference, Johnson said he was still sticking to his date of 1 June for schools to open, but acknowledged “it may not be possible” for all of them to do so.
  • The number of deaths in New York state caused by Covid-19 in the last 24 hours was 84, the lowest one-day total since late March, Governor Andrew Cuomo has said.
  • The Chinese virology institute at the centre of US allegations that it may have been the source of the Covid-19 pandemic, has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new global contagion according to its director. 
  • As the US approaches 100,000 Covid-19 deaths, The New York Times has marked the grim milestone with a stark memorial on its front page – one-line obituaries for 1,000 victims.
  • Muslims around the world on have begun celebrating Eid al-Fitr, a normally festive holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, with millions under strict stay-at-home orders and many fearing renewed coronavirus outbreaks.
  • French churches are preparing to hold their first Sunday masses in more than two months today after the government bowed to a ruling that they should be reopened. 
  • Dozens of demonstrations have been held across Germany this weekend as part of a protest movement against Covid-19 lockdown measures.

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