No further deaths and 456 Covid-19 cases as milestone 2m vaccine doses to be passed

The HSE believes the number of Covid-19 vaccines administered will pass the two million mark today.
No further deaths and 456 Covid-19 cases as milestone 2m vaccine doses to be passed

A man walks past a mural of Freddie Mercury by Emmalene Blake, in Kingswood, Dublin. Picture Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The Chief Medical Officer has said that following public health guidelines remains the key objective as we continue to chart our way through the pandemic.

The Covid-19 death toll in Ireland remains at 4,937 as no further deaths were reported this evening.

Nphet reported 456 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

As of 8am this morning, there are 111 Covid patients in hospital, of which 36 are in ICU.

There have been 11 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.

The average age of the Covid cases reported today is 27 years old with over 80% of the cases among those under the age of 45.

Dublin has the highest number of cases with 189 while 52 cases were confirmed in Cork, 49 in Donegal, 39 in Kildare and 17 in Galway.

The remaining 110 cases are spread across 20 other counties.

Waterford is the only county not to report a Covid-19 case in the past 24 hours.

Once again, Kildare has the highest 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 at 253.5. Donegal is close behind with a rate of 248.8.

The national incidence rate currently stands at 129.3.

Ireland has the sixth lowest 14-day incidence rate of Covid-19 in the EU according to the latest data.

Portugal has the lowest at 50 cases per 100,000 people followed by Malta, Finland, Romania and Slovakia.

Cyprus has the highest incidence rate in the bloc, at 797.

Donnelly: Everyone who wants a vaccine can hopefully be fully vaccinated by September

Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The HSE believes the number of Covid-19 vaccines administered will pass the two million mark today.

As of last night, over 1,971,000 vaccines had been administered.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid says 37% of adults have received their first dose.

Mr Reid said 1,437,418 people have received their first dose and 533,835 (13.8%) have received their second.

CMO Dr Tony Holohan said people who have been vaccinated are encouraged to "safely resume your lives" but are asked to be mindful of guidelines.

"For those awaiting vaccination, the many choices we make to stick with the public health advice will keep ourselves and our loved ones safe," he added."

The Tánaiste has said the portal for booking Covid vaccines should be open to everyone by the end of June.

Leo Varadkar walked back slightly from comments last night that everyone who wants a vaccine could have one in that time.

The figure was based on 10 to 15% of the population not wanting to get a vaccination.

Mr Varadkar said he meant people could have an appointment by that stage - if not an actual injection.

The Health Minister said he was aware of Mr Varadkar's comment calling it a "very ambitious statement" adding that he hoped it was one they could deliver on.

"At the moment, we are on track. If the deliveries continue to arrive in then we are on track for about four in every five adults who want a vaccine to have been offered one," said Mr Donnelly.

"The latest analysis we have would suggest that everyone who wants a vaccine can be fully vaccinated by September."

Varadkar: Indoor dining and drinking in July 

While outdoor dining and drinking will be allowed from early June, there is now increasing certainty around the return of indoor hospitality
While outdoor dining and drinking will be allowed from early June, there is now increasing certainty around the return of indoor hospitality

Indoor dining and drinking are to return in July under Government plans, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.

Responding to calls in the Dáil for a detailed plan as to how large cities will operate this summer, Mr Varadkar said local authorities are providing more bins and public toilets.

“I welcome that. We need more of that from local authorities,” he said.

While outdoor dining and drinking will be allowed from early June, there is now increasing certainty around the return of indoor hospitality earlier than had previously been envisaged.

“As regards gardaí, the budget for the Garda and the number of gardaí have never been higher. We are at record levels in terms of the size of the Garda force and that allows for more outdoor gardaí and a more visible presence through the summer and that will be needed,” he said.

Responding to questions about hotels being allowed to serve indoors from June 2, Mr Varadkar said he knows this is annoying for restaurant owners.

However, he expected this disparity would only be in place for a few weeks.

Donnelly warns antigen tests are not a perfect testing system 

 Picture: Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD
Picture: Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD

The Health Minister has played down the effectiveness of antigen testing days after criticising health officials for doing the same.

Stephen Donnelly said it was unhelpful for Professor Philip Nolan to compare the tests to snake oil.

Mr Donnelly said that while they will have a role to play in the re-opening of society, they are not a perfect testing system.

"Doing it correctly is much more difficult than wearing a mask," warned Mr Donnelly.

He cited a report which looked at a wide variety of tests and found that when the manufacturers instructions were followed, just one of the rapid tests met the minimum sensitivity and specificity requirements.

99 Covid-19 cases as Stormont expect indoor hospitality to reopen on May 24 

There has been one further death of a patient who had previously tested positive for coronavirus in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health notified 99 new positive cases of the virus in the last 24-hour period.

On Thursday morning, there were 46 inpatients in hospital who were Covid positive, of whom three were in intensive care.

Indoor hospitality is expected to reopen in Northern Ireland in 11 days' time.

The Stormont Executive met earlier to discuss the possible easing of lockdown restrictions.

It is understood ministers have agreed up to 500 spectators will be allowed at sporting events outside from May 24 and indoor sports training will be allowed for teams.

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