Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Cabinet expected to approve easing of Covid curbs as Level 5 cost hits €1.5bn

The median age of the new cases was 35 years and 64% of infections were in people aged under 45. File photograph: The Irish Times

Total number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in the Republic now stands at 71,494

Prof Risteárd Ó Laoide, national director of the National Cancer Control Programme, HSE speaking at the Health Service Executive weekly press briefing in Dublin. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Referrals fell to 64% in March across three cancer clinics but now stand at 107% compared to last year

Leo Varadkar: decision on inter-county travel – including to Northern Ireland – will not be made until closer to Christmas. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Decision on inter-county travel will come closer to Christmas , says Tánaiste

 Grafton Street in Dublin on Tuesday, with Christmas lights overhead. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Government looking at limited reopening of social and economic life

Concerns have been expressed that because people are spending more time indoors during the pandemic, their vitamin D levels may be even lower than usual. File photograph: Getty

Those aged 65 and older should take dose daily to ‘maintain bone and muscle health’

Only seven out of every 10 staff in long-term care facilities are turning up for Covid-19 tests, public health officials have warned. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Concern over high number of care staff failing to show for Covid-19 tests

There is a growing sense amongst Ministers that pubs not serving food will not reopen this year. Photograph: Getty Images

Cabinet sources say Ministers will push for reopening of shops, restaurants and churches

Outbreaks in nursing homes in Ireland and other European countries help to skew data on deaths for older age groups, rendering cross-country comparisons of the scale of the pandemic inaccurate, researchers say. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA

Just over 3% of Republic’s general population infected compared to 4.31% in North

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin

No further coronavirus-related deaths and 252 cases confirmed, lowest daily figure since September

Margaret Costelloe of Costelloe+Costelloe arranging festive Christmas masks at her shop in Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Irish task force will aim to inoculate population ‘urgently and comprehensively’

There have been 41 deaths of children due to flu in the past 10 years in Ireland, and almost 5,000 hospitalisations. Photograph: Thinkstock

GPs ‘shocked’ at lack of demand as unused doses to start expiring in January

An average of seven patients a day are contracting Covid-19 while in the State’s hospitals, according to new figures. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

HSE figures show seven patients contracting disease in Irish hospitals a day on average

Covid-19 street art on a boarded up shop on Dublin’s Baggot Street Upper. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times.

Professor optimistic Level 3 will be possible as Nphet meets to discuss lockdown exit

In the North it has been estimated that opening schools would add 0.2 to the reproduction number, but no such calculations have been done in the Republic. Photograph: Getty Images

Eight months on it seems we have not learnt which specific measures are most effective

Covid testing being formed St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Extra 379 confirmed cases as CMO urges people to ‘work together for the next two weeks’

 A protester wears women’s briefs as a face mask during a demonstration against German coronavirus restrictions in Berlin, Germany. Photgraph: EPA

Danger particularly case where ‘shouting and singing’ and prolonged contact occurs

Danny McCoy of Ibec: accused Nphet of ‘limiting the choice for Government’ by making regular interventions in the media. Photograph: Eric Luke

Difficulty of charting a route out of Level 5 clear as business lobby criticises Nphet

 Gardaí at a checkpoint on O Connell Bridge, Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Nphet ‘increasingly concerned’ as 366 further cases are recorded on Tuesday

It is understood the regulations will not prevent pubs from serving takeaway drinks, but will instead prevent people from gathering outdoors to drink together in groups of two or more

Proposals to go before Cabinet as Nphet official warns of Christmas travel impact

Hospitalisations, intensive care admission and deaths are all stable. File photograph: The Irish Times

Public health team’s focus on rising figures presages advance tussle with Government

The proportion of the population that says they feel depressed at least some of the time has risen from 13 per cent in 2018 to 33 per cent earlier in the pandemic. Photograph: iStock

Time devoted to looking after mental health needed during Covid-19 crisis, says professor

 Dr Ronan Glynn, the State’s deputy chief medical officer, is pictured at a briefing given by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) on Monday evening. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins.

Dr Ronan Glynn criticises ‘selfish minority’ for gathering to drink alcohol on city streets

Sandra Gallagher, shop manager of Guineys, with its seasonal window display on North Earl Street, Dublin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

A return to some version of Level 3 for the festive period risks undoing recent progress

A woman walks past the Brown Thomas Christmas window on Dublin’s Grafton street this week. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Medical officer rules out festive international travel even on compassionate grounds

Most staff absences in the affected hospitals were due to staff being contacts rather than cases. Photograph: iStock

Staffing impacted at facilities in Naas, Letterkenny and Limerick

People should not travel home to Ireland for Christmas due to the threat posed by Covid-19, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has advised. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins.

Holohan says overseas travel that usually happens at Christmas seen as ‘non-essential’ during pandemic

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Number of Covid-19 outbreaks in workplaces, childcare facilities, hospitals all increased last week

HSE chief executive Paul Reid praised healthcare staff for their ‘phenomenal’ work responding to the pandemic. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

HSE wants to provide maximum protection from virus to frontline staff, Dáil group told

Many of the Covid-19 vaccines currently in development focus on generating a strong neutralising antibody response to provide protection from infection

Hiqa says immunity can last between two and six months after virus but reinfection is rare

HSE is seeing ‘unprecedented levels of demand’ for doses of the flu vaccine from at risk groups

Some 50,000 doses held back to identify distribution gaps, says chief clinical officer

A patient is administered a dose of a coronavirus vaccine produced by BioNTech. Photograph: BioNTech/PA Wire

Three weeks to go before Level 5 restrictions are due to be lifted on December 1st

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said on Monday that once a safe and effective vaccine was available, Ireland would be able to organise the distribution of supplies. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Nphet gives breakthrough cautious welcome but stresses further reliable data needed

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan outlined the new figures at apress conference at the Department of Health. Photograph:  Stephen Collins/Collins Photos Dublin

News on vaccine trial a positive first step, says director of National Virus Reference Laboratory

A group of Irish doctors – the Covid-19 Ireland: A Scientific Approach group –  say testing resources should be focused on nursing homes and other high-risk settings. File photograph: Getty

Group of concerned medics also urge end to daily Government briefings on case numbers

Paul Reid ‘We do need to give people good hope and encouragement that the actions they’re taking now does merit us all having a reasonable Christmas.’ Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Public must still limit contacts when Level 5 lifts, says HSE chief Reid

The Covid-19 contact tracing app was launced in July. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Nphet reports two deaths and 542 new cases in the State

Report author Prof Susan O’Reilly: “Ireland is unique internationally in regard to the litigation environment and the potential for harm to its current and future screening programmes.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Screening service faces ‘huge risk’ due to escalating number of legal claims

There has been a total of 1,945 Covid-19 related deaths and a total of 64,855 confirmed cases of in the State.

Government yet to decide on Covid-19 health advice for Christmas

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has  called for plans to combat overcrowding in hospitals as a union tally showed over 200 patients a day had to wait for beds last month. Photograph: Getty Images

Vulnerable people who urgently require admission to a mental health centre may be at risk

Taoiseach Micheál Martin:  told RTÉ on Friday night that the curbs needed to stay in place for six weeks ‘to get the number really down to a very, very low level’. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

CSO data show 93% of those who have died with Covid-19 had underlying condition

Danny Healy Rae TD is seen wearing a protective visor at Leinster House on Kildare Street, Dublin, earlier this week. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Nphet has said visors offer inappropriate protection against Covid-19 for majority of people

HSE chief clinical officer, Dr Colm Henry. File photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

‘We want Christmas to be safe, but we also want January and February to be safe,’ says Dr Colm Henry

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan: ‘We all need to recognise the efforts of our young people and I thank them.’ Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

Risk of a coronavirus patient dying in ICU in the Republic is less than half of that in the UK

Attendances at EDs fell 6.5% last week, while admissions fell almost 10%, compared to the previous week, according to HSE chief operations officer Anne O’Connor. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ireland is one of only two countries in Europe with a declining incidence of Covid-19, HSE says

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

Minister says removing restrictions only achievable if ‘we all follow the basics’

Estimates of the basic R0 of Covid-19 vary, with studies indicating a value of more than 4 in the absence of preventative measures.

Reproduction number for disease has fallen but not to the level hoped for by officials

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. File photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Eight more deaths and 444 cases of coronavirus reported; R number now 0.7 to 0.9

HSE support teams and staff from the Health Information and Quality Authority are onsite at the Kerry nursing home. File photograph: Getty

Manager of home among those diagnosed with coronavirus, Minister tells committee

The Hiqa review concluded that in the absence of testing, a 14-day period of restriction of movements was likely to capture 95 per cent of people who will become symptomatic. File photograph: Peter Komka

Reducing 2-week restricted movement period presents increased risk of transmission, Hiqa warns

The only surviving subgroup is the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory group, chaired by Prof Philip Nolan. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Department of Health confirms 10 expert groups were stood down over the summer

In many parts of the world, Covid-19 has cut a swathe through many urban centres, and it would be foolish to think Dublin and other Irish cities could escape this fate. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Highest case rates appear to be in newer suburbs

The positivity rate for tests carried out also continues to improve, down to 4.8 per cent today from a high of 7.3 per cent on October 20th.  File photograph: The Irish Times.

Positivity rate for tests falls to 4.8 per cent having reached 7.3 per cent on October 20th

A further 493 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Northern Ireland on Monday.

Two more deaths and 767 further infections confirmed in the State

On discharge, just 37.3 per cent of mothers are breastfeeding,  the 2019 figures show. Photograph: iStock

Only two out of three women initiate breastfeeding before leaving hospital

As of 2pm on Monday, 341 Covid-19 patients were in hospital. This is the highest figure since May 20th.

Three more deaths and a further 939 confirmed cases of Covid-19 reported by Nphet

Dr Mike Ryan said at a WHO briefing on Monday night that not everyone had the knowledge or interest in adhering to regulations.

Avoid stringent lockdowns by quarantining when required, advises Dr Mike Ryan

In Ireland, it is estimated that 8 per cent of Covid-19 deaths are linked to air pollution. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/ Reuters

Researchers say air pollution may lead to ‘fatal health outcomes’ of the virus infection

According to the Department of Health, 17,572 tests were completed in the past 24 hours, and 115,138 in the past week. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Department of Health says 115,138 tests for coronavirus completed over the last week

Almost one fifth of healthcare workers in a large Dublin hospital have antibody evidence of infection with Covid-19, a much higher rate than in the general population, according to a new study. File image: Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP.

Just 12% of participants in Tallaght study had been diagnosed with coronavirus disease

The HSE says data protection issues are hampering contact tracing. File photograph: Alan Betson

Covid-19 spreading due to lack of collaboration between North and Republic, say doctors

File photo of vials prepared for clinical trial of University of Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, one of the vaccines in development worldwide. Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty

Drop in numbers of close contacts noted as 1,025 confirmed new cases in State reported

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer at the  Department of Health, on Sunday urged people to stay at home, unless for essential reasons or for exercise. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says range of key indicators on spread of disease starting to ‘level off’ but it is ‘early days’

Inflight transmission of Covid-19 may have resulted in the infection of 59 people across the State, including 13 passengers on the same long-distance flight, according to a new study. Image: iStock.

Study authors say outbreak shows potential for spread of disease during air travel

One resident of the Nightingale nursing home in Ahascragh, Co Galway,  has died and two have been hospitalised in the latest mass outbreak of Covid-19 in a long-term care facility. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Officials insist rosters at facility are covered despite claims home had been abandoned

Public health doctors say it is inevitable the disease will make its way into nursing homes when there is widespread transmission in the community, as there is at present. Photograph: John Stillwell

Infection in Ballinasloe facility comes at time of greater expertise, faster testing and PPE

Chief executive of the HSE Paul Reid said Because of a ‘scheduling issue’, not enough staff were on at the weekend when the number of calls increased rapidly.  File photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Head of the HSE said keeping Taoiseach and ministers informed ‘didn’t work as it should’

Most of the residents in the  Nightingale Nursing Home in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, have contracted coronavirus. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

One nurse and one carer working 13-hour shifts looking after 24 residents, says director

A contact tracing call centre in UCD. Some of the problems with Irish contact tracing are down to a lack of resources. File photograph: Enda O’Dowd

System cannot be expected to handle current surge but Ireland is yet to get process right

Professor Philip Nolan of Nphet. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Government fears Nphet will seek new lockdown after Christmas break

Some rapid tests under development promise to  give results at a similar speed of a pregnancy test. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP via Getty Images

Hiqa says cheaper tests should be considered but none could be recommended as yet

At the start of December, when the six weeks is up, there is no prospect of us arriving at Covid-free Nirvana. Photograph:  Stephen Collins

Escalation to Level 5 only leads to pre-festive fork in road with more restrictions inevitable

The HSE has said that it will send a text message on Wednesday to between 2,000 and 2,500 people, who have already been informed by text of their infection, asking them to tell their own close contacts to contact their GPs immediately to seek a  test. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Government fears health officials will seek another lockdown after Christmas

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said people should stay at home over the next six weeks of Level 5 restrictions. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Meath is county with highest number of new coronavirus cases on Tuesday at 221

Of the cases reported on Monday, 235 are in Dublin and 232 in Cork. There were also 60 cases in Galway, 47 in Limerick, 47 in Kerry, with the remaining 410 cases spread across 21 counties.  File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

HSE introduces new swab testing kit which it says may improve turnaround times

Shoppers walk past Covid signs in Celbridge, Co Kildare. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin

Former FF minister among doctors who say Ireland is ‘lurching from crisis to crisis’

‘Until we get a vaccine, normal life will not resume as we know it,’ said Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo illustration:  Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Covid-19 vaccine trials are advancing fast – but anti-vaccine sentiment is growing too

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan at a press conference in Dublin on Thursday. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Varadkar says public will demand exit strategy if Level 5 imposed

A woman walks past a cafe on Main street, Co Cavan, as counties Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan prepare to move to Level 4  from midnight tonight. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

If current trends continue there could be 1,800-2,500 daily cases by October 31st, says Nphet

 The GAA Handball alley at Croke Park is being used as a HSE Covid test centre for the public. Photograph: Alan Betson

Inaccurate swab collection could increase false negative rates, say authors of Beaumont study

A woman cycles across the Peace Bridge over the River Foyle in Derry. The highest incidence of the disease is in the Derry and Strabane council area which over the past week saw 970 cases per 100,000 of the population. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Ten further deaths on island of Ireland as Northern Executive discusses tighter restrictions

Shoppers  amid the  pandemic on Monday on Grafton Street, Dublin. “We can’t conclude we have turned the corner in Dublin even if we can see the growth rate is different to what it was,”  chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Announcement on moving Border counties up to Level 4 expected by Thursday

Dr Owen O’Flynn (23) spoke at Monday evening’s Nphet briefing to warn young people not to think themselves to be immune to the virus. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Dr Owen O’Flynn, from Kerry, says he is still feeling the effects of the infection months later

The North’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride has advised that Northern Ireland should go into lockdown. File photograph: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA

Nphet contacts Government after figures for infections in Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal cause particular concern

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer, Department of Health, pictured at a press conference at the department on Monday evening. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

‘We can’t have children and families moving from house to house’ at Halloween

 Members fo the public out shopping and wearing face masks on Dublin’s Grafton Street. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Extending mid-term breaks discussed by sources now talking idea down

Grafton Street in Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

It is encouraging that deaths remain low, but little progress has been made on key issues

Dr Tony Holohan at a media briefing t his week. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Covid-19: HSE chief says a record number of over 19,500 tests done on Thursday

A garda performing a random vehicle check in the village of Muff, Co  Donegal. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

Total of 506 new cases reported in Republic and one death

Mr Reid said he had a “strong concern” about virus trends, and pointed out that every hospitalisation of a patient has a significant impact. Photograph: Leah Farrell / Photocall Ireland

Four hundred staff off due to testing positive or as close contact in August – HSE chief

Dr Marcus de Brun: As well as resigning his HSE list of patients, he has shut down his Twitter account. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Medical Council concerned about ‘public statement which would tend to undermine regulations’

People wearing facemasks on Grafton Street, Dublin this week. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

183 schools subject of mass testing in September, says HPSC

Is it time to tackle the ‘elephant in the room’ that is the unfettered sale of alcohol right through this pandemic? Photograph: iStock

Better and faster testing and tracing is vital, but what about the role of alcohol in this crisis?

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan leaving Government Buildings in Dublin after meeting  Ministers on Monday. Photograph: PA Wire

Survey shows levels of anger are at their highest in the pandemic, while fear is also increasing

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar addressed a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday night. File photograph: Julien Behal Photography.

432 more cases confirmed as Holohan calls for renewed public effort

Overweight and obesity among top modifiable risk factors for cancer in Ireland. Photograph: iStock

Smoking, overweight and obesity, and infections were top three modifiable risk factors

Dr Tony Holohan:  paints a dire picture of the harms being wrought by the virus and  proposes administering strong medicine to deal with it. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Capacity and ICU beds crucial as pandemic decision-making clearly in need of reform

 Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan who met coalition party leaders and medical officers at Government buildings, Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

‘It is vital we do everything in our power now to arrest the current trajectory,’ says CMO

Many will claim to have the solutions to the Covid-19 crisis but the honest answer is that no-one really knows the right way to get through this pandemic, so unparalleled in modern times. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.

Analysis: Officials need to explain what second lockdown would change if public accept more heavy restrictions

 Members of the Defence Forces  at the drive-in Covid-19 testing centre at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday. Photograph:Stephen Collins/ Collins Photos Dublin

Cabinet sources express serious reservations about adopting the recommendation

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