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The 9 at 9: Thursday

ICU nurses “exhausted”, calls for joint patrols on the Channel and Polish court ruling.

Image: Shutterstock

Updated Thu 9:00 AM

GOOD MORNING.

Here’s all the news that you need to know as you start your day.

Intensive care staff 

1. In our main story this morning, Órla Ryan reports that nurses working in intensive care units have warned that another long winter looms as Covid cases rise and staff shortages continue in hospitals.

Nurses working in the intensive care unit at a busy Dublin hospital told The Journal they are “absolutely exhausted and we haven’t even hit the winter peak”.

“Basically we feel like broken records. The ICU is full and over capacity, as always. We’ve not enough staff and sadly we’ve lost a lot of senior and experienced staff during the pandemic to other roles in the hospital.”

France

2. The British government has called on France to agree to joint police patrols along the French Channel coast.

At least 27 people died while crossing from France to England when their boat sank off the port of Calais – making it the deadliest disaster since the English Channel became a major part of the migrant route.

“Both leaders were clear that today’s tragic loss of life was a stark reminder that it is vital to keep all options on the table to stop these lethal crossings and break the business model of the criminal gangs behind them,” a UK government spokesman said yesterday.

Antigen tests

3. It has been almost two weeks since people were told by health experts that if they are attending bars, restaurants and other indoor environments with multiple households they should consider using antigen tests a number of times a week.

But despite the level of concern from government over the hospital figures and rising Covid-19 case numbers, there is still no detail on when members of the public might be able to get their hands on antigen tests at subsidised prices. 

Here is a look at what is behind the delay in announcing a plan around subsidised antigen testing. 

Poland

4. Poland’s constitutional court has ruled that part of the European Convention on Human Rights was incompatible with the Polish constitution, in an unprecedented challenge against a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights.

“The Constitutional Court throws away the ECHR judgement violating our system,” Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta said on Twitter, referring to a ruling earlier this year on Poland’s controversial judicial reforms.

Kaleta said that it was “a beautiful day for Polish rule of law and sovereignty” and that “another attempt at external and illegal interference in Poland’s system has been stopped”. 

Relationship abuse

5. Women’s Aid has said that dispelling misunderstandings about intimate relationship abuse is crucial to combatting it in society.

A survey of 500 18 to 25-year-olds in Ireland by Women’s Aid and Red C, which included focus groups, found that three in five young people have experienced or know someone who has experienced intimate relationship abuse.

Only 16% think it is easy to spot signs of abuse and four in five believe people experiencing abuse do so in silence and may not seek support.

Covid in Europe 

6. The World Health Organization said that coronavirus cases jumped by 11% in Europe in the last week.

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In its weekly assessment of the pandemic, the UN health agency said cases and deaths globally have risen by about 6%, with about 3.6 million new infections and 51,00 new deaths reported in the previous week.

Lorry drivers

7. Alcoholic drinks including champagne could be scarce in Britain due to its lorry driver shortage, the drinks sector has warned the British government.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said in a statement that the British government must take more “immediate steps” to address the shortages and prevent more empty shelves.

Russia

8. Russian president Vladimir Putin said that he has taken an experimental nasal vaccine against Covid-19, three days after he received his booster shot.

Putin was vaccinated with Sputnik V, Russia’s domestically developed Covid-19 vaccine, in the spring.

He recently received a booster shot of Sputnik Light, the one-dose version of the jab, and said he wanted to take part in testing the nasal version of Sputnik V.

Pfizer

9. In other vaccine news, a new study has found efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine begins to wane after three months.

Experts who have been tracking the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have found that the risk of Covid-19 infection increases the longer it is since people had a second dose.

While the study is observational in nature, the experts said it appears clear that immunity wanes after the first three months of being double-vaccinated.

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