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Nine more deaths in Ireland but none in Northern Ireland: Today's Covid-19 main points

The death toll from Covid-19 in Ireland is now 1,615.

Belfast's oldest Catholic Church, St Mary's in Chapel Lane, reopens for solitary prayers.
Belfast's oldest Catholic Church, St Mary's in Chapel Lane, reopens for solitary prayers.
Image: Liam McBurney via PA

Updated May 26th 2020, 6:15 PM

A FURTHER NINE people have died from Covid-19 in Ireland, the Department of Health confirmed this evening.

A further 37 cases of the virus have also been confirmed here, bringing the total number of cases to 24,735.

The death toll from Covid-19 in Ireland is now 1,615.

Northern Ireland earlier declared it had no reported deaths related to Covid-19 today, 24 hours after no new new deaths were reported in the Republic.

If further evidence was needed that the social distancing measures and lockdown restrictions are working, this morning Health Minister Simon Harris tweeted out a graph of the number of confirmed cases in Irish hospitals.

It’s fallen from a peak of almost 1,000 to less than 300.

But we’re also not out of the woods yet.

Dr Catherine Motherway, president of the Intensive Care Society of Ireland, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that hospital staff are “considerably worried” ahead of next winter’s flu season as the hospital system is always under pressure during that period.

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“That’s going to be very difficult and will be a significant challenge for those of us trying to get elective surgical activity through the hospital system in the winter.”

Here are today’s Covid-19 main points: 

  • A further nine deaths and 37 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Ireland
  • Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) told the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 that NPHET challenged the NHI’s decision to restrict visitors to nursing homes in early March.
  • NHI also said the discharging of patients from hospitals without testing was a contributory factor in how Covid-19 made its way into Irish nursing homes.
  • Follow our political correspondent Christina Finn’s coverage here.
  • Phelim Quinn of Hiqa, HSE representatives, and officials from the Department of Justice will also appear before the committee later.
  • For the first time since March, there have been no new Covid-19 deaths in Northern Ireland.
  • Over 33,000 Leaving Cert students have registered for the Calculated Grades system so far.
  • The Children’s Rights Alliance is asking for measures to be put in place for children during the summer months, amid concerns that young people may “disengage” from education.
  • There is “considerable worry” among hospital staff about this year’s winter flu season, coupled with the coronavirus pandemic, on the Irish hospital system.
  • An outbreak of the mumps in Ireland has significantly declined due to restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has said.
  • Solicitors have voiced their concerns at being unable to speak to clients in custody while maintaining social distancing.
  • Trade union Siptu has called on employers in the contract cleaning sector to honour a 40 cent-per-hour pay increase for cleaners that they say has been agreed upon but not implemented. 
  • The Governing Authority of the University of Limerick has today recommended the issuing of refunds for students in rented accommodation at UL.
  • Energia has partnered with not-for-profit social enterprise GIY, to give away 1,000 large GROWBoxes and a bag of Irish Wildflower Beebombs which help recreate bee habitats and are vital to help the threatened species survive.

Here are today’s international Covid-19 points: 

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior aide Dominic Cummings said he drove to Durham in late March due to fears over a lack of childcare in London and concerns about his family’s safety – a junior minister has resigned over the incident.
  • Michael Gove said that he has on occasion driven to test his eyesight, in an interview with LBC which doesn’t make it clear if he’s joking or not.
  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was unable to visit his dying mother in her final weeks because he obeyed coronavirus restrictions against visiting care homes.
  • The World Health Organization has temporarily suspended clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19 as a precautionary measure.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

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