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Schools to reopen at the end of August and a new deal with private hospitals: Today's Covid-19 main points

The deaths of nine more people in Ireland from Covid-19 were announced last night.

Image: PA

Updated May 29th 2020, 3:30 PM

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that Ireland has not suppressed the spread of Covid-19 enough to reduce social distancing guidelines from two metres to one metre.

Varadkar defended the two metre social distance guideline and said it may be changed if the spread of the virus reduces more in the weeks ahead.

“Before we can relax that rule and maybe reduce it to one metre, which I know a lot of people would like, we just need to see the virus come down a bit more,” he said.

It follows a discussion by the Cabinet of a number of issues relating to Covid-19.

High up on the agenda were the anomalies in the government’s wage subsidy scheme for those returning from maternity leave, which has become an increasingly dominant issue in recent weeks.

Ministers also discussed the mandatory isolation for those who enter the country from abroad, a measure which came into effect from yesterday.

The deaths of nine more people were reported last night, when health officials confirmed a further 46 cases of the coronavirus here.

Also last night, education minister Joe McHugh told RTÉ that a “half return” to school in September will be required if the 2m social distancing rule is still in force.

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On the international front, details of an easing of restrictions in the UK were announced by Boris Johnson yesterday.

But South Korea is set to limit the number of children going to school near the capital Seoul, amid concerns about a resurgence of the virus there.    

Here are today’s Covid-19 main points:

  • The government will reopen primary and secondary schools at the end of August, though it may not be possible for all students to attend class every day. 
  • A new deal with private hospitals it to be negotiated. 
  • The Taoiseach also said that Ireland has not suppressed the spread of Covid-19 enough to reduce social distancing guidelines to one metre.
  • The Cabinet decided to extend the suspension of redundancy provisions relating to temporary lay-off and short-time work.
  • A new study of Irish Covid-19 cases has suggested that there is a lack of evidence to show that the coronavirus is transmissible in school settings.
  • Childcare providers have said many facilities will go out of business or choose not to reopen unless the Government agrees to increase funding to the sector.
  • The charity Women’s Aid has reported a 40% rise in calls since the start of the Covid-19 restrictions.
  • A new study by the ESRI suggests that nearly 50% of people don’t know that they need to self-isolate if they have less common Covid-19 symptoms.
  • The HSE has told all nursing graduates this year that they will receive a permanent contract.
  • Over 98% of the 61,029 students due to sit the Leaving Cert this summer have signed up for the Calculated Grades system being implemented in place of exams. 

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

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that small social gatherings will be allowed from next week as part of an easing of the country’s lockdown restrictions.
  • South Korea has imposed limits on the number of pupils going to schools in the capital Seoul amid a surge in new coronavirus cases.
  • Denmark has loosened its Covid-19 restrictions to let owners of second homes, extended family members, and loved ones of Danish residents in other Nordic countries enter the country again.
  • New Zealand has all but eradicated the coronavirus, with just one person in the country known to be still infected.
  • India has registered a record daily increase of 7,466 cases ahead of its two-month lockdown ending on Sunday.
  • Greece has listed 29 countries from where it will accept visitors from 15 June – but the list does not include the UK or Ireland. 

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