Covid-19: No deaths in Republic but 469 more infections

No further fatalities registered in NI but 37 virus-positive patients in hospital on Thursday

No coronavirus deaths have been reported in the Republic by the National Public Health Emergency Team on Thursday but 469 newly confirmed infections have been registered. The team also noted that 38 people are in intensive care.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland there have been no further deaths of patients who had previously tested positive for the virus. But another 90 positive cases were also confirmed by the region’s Department of Health.

On Thursday morning there were 37 coronavirus-positive patients in hospital, of whom two were in intensive care.

As infections and fatalities fall Stormont Ministers have agreed to press ahead with further relaxation of lockdown rules.

From Monday May 24th, indoor hospitality can resume while people will be able to meet inside private homes for the first time this year. Six people from no more than two households will be able to meet in a private dwelling and stay overnight.

All tourism accommodation will also be able to reopen on May 24th.

A limit on the size of outdoor gatherings will increase to 500 – a number that will also apply to those able to attend sporting fixtures. Indoor group exercise is allowed again, enabling indoor sports teams to resume training.

Indoor visitor and cultural attractions can also reopen from May 24th. This includes museums, galleries, cinemas, indoor play areas, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, bingo halls and libraries.

Stormont’s Stay Local message is also to be removed.

Schools can resume extra-curricular activities, indoor extra-curricular sports, outdoor interschools sports and day-educational visits.

Ministers also considered Northern Ireland’s policy on international travel and have agreed a “green list” of countries where people can travel to without having to quarantine on their return.

There were discussions at the executive whether Portugal would be among the countries on the list, with Ministers ultimately agreeing to give the popular holiday destination green status.

It is understood those returning from Portugal will have to take a Covid-19 PCR test. – PA