• NPHET has delayed a key meeting on easing restrictions next month.

    The public health body was due to meet tomorrow but will now wait until Monday.

    It's in a bid to gather as much data as possible before making a decision on whether any restrictions can ease from April 5th.

    In the Dáil this afternoon Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the full picture needs to be taken into account.

  • Seven further deaths were reported from Covid-19 last evening, and 418 new cases of the virus.

    This includes 10 new cases in Galway, while figures were low elsewhere across the region - less than 5 new cases were reported in Mayo, Roscommon and Leitrim, and no new cases in Sligo.

    The number of Covid-19 patients in public hospitals is at the lowest level in over seven months.

    It dropped to 122 last night - the lowest since October 2nd - with 37 Covid patients  in intensive care yesterday, the lowest figure this year so far.

    At last night's NPHET briefing, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that, as we look forward to the greater reopening of activities and services, the key objective is to maintain our course in coming weeks, and follow the public health advice in our daily activities.

    He said when planning to meet someone, remember that outdoors is safer, and stay at a 2 metre distance, keep to a small group and avoid crowded areas.

    Dr Holohan says we have seen outbreaks and clusters of the disease as a result of social events such as funerals, wakes and birthday parties, and he's urging people to avoid congregating in large groups.




  • 24 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed while one person infected with the virus has died, according to latest figures from NPHET.

    It brings the death toll in the Republic to 1,764 and the total number of cases to 25, 869.

    It comes as an Irish scientist leading the way in developing a Covid-19 vaccine says production may end up being very slow.

    In comments to the Independent today, Professor Adrian Hill from the University of Oxford says there will be high demand.

  • Senior Government ministers will meet this evening to finalise the plan to further ease Covid-19 restrictions.

    The Cabinet sub-committee on Covid will consider advice issued by NPHET, which met yesterday morning.

    Tomorrow the Taoiseach will announce plans for the resumption of live entertainment, indoor dining and international travel.

  • Public health officials say Christmas can be saved if the right measures are taken.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team meets again today and is  warning that cases of Covid-19 could exceed 1,000 a day in a matter of weeks and says we are now in a period of exponential growth.

    5 deaths were recorded yesterday, with 611 new cases of the virus - of which over 200 were in Dublin and 35 in Galway.

    The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said all key indicators of the disease have deteriorated further since Sunday - he said Covid-19 is spreading in our community in a very worrying manner and we have to break the chains of transmission.


    Latest county by county figures show Galway is now at 866 - a rise of 70 cases over 5 days.

    Mayo is on 675 confirmed cases - up 21 in 5 days.

    Roscommon's total has now hit 500 cases, with 218 in Sligo and 122 in Leitrim.

    There are currently 156 people in hospitals across the country with the virus - with 27 patients in ICU.

    There are currently no confirmed cases at Mayo University Hospital, while the Castlebar hospital is treating 4 patients with suspected Covid-19 at present.

  • The Government has asked health officials to consider speeding up the exit plan for the Coronavirus lockdown.

    The Taoiseach says Ministers have asked to move some of the phase 3 measures up to phase 2, which is due to start on Monday.

    Cabinet will make a decision tomorrow on whether to go ahead with that after medical advice from NPHET.

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said they are looking to move parts of the roadmap up.

  • The Government looks set to reject NPHET's recommendation that the country be moved  level five restrictions.

    Instead, it's understood every county will be placed on level three from midnight.

    There will also be proper monitoring and enforcement of those restrictions.

    The Cabinet is set to approve the measures at a meeting at 5.30pm.



  • The leaders of the three coalition parties will meet later today to discuss placing the country back into a six week lockdown.

    NPHET has recommended Level 5 restrictions for the entire country.

    1,000 new cases of Covid-19 and three more deaths were confirmed yesterday.

    75 of the cases were in Galway, 34 in Sligo, 26 in Mayo, 18 in Leitrim and seven in Roscommon.

  • The government won't decide until Monday at the earliest if it's going to put Ireland to level five public health restrictions.

    Talks at government buildings have wrapped up for the night after hours of briefings from senior public health officials.

    Speaking as he left the meeting, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the Goverment shares concerns around the increasing numbers, which he said are also occurring across Europe and the rest of the world.

    While no decisions have been taken, there is a growing expectation among some Cabinet ministers that the country will be moved to a higher level of alert in the coming days, but that it will fall short of the Level 5 for six weeks recommendation made by the NPHET.

  • The Government is denying any divisions with the National Public Health Emergency Team over coronavirus restrictions.

    A phased roadmap has been devised to slowly ease us out of lockdown, with some media reports over the weekend saying the Government and the National Public Health Emergency Team are divided over what should happen.

    But the Government's denied this is the case and has published a letter from the Chief Medical Officer showing Tony Holohan made the recommendations that have been implemented today.

    A spokesperson for the Tanaiste says both sides have an excellent working relationship.


  • The Government last night published its 'green list' of 15 countries, which have a similar or lower level of Covid-19 than Ireland.

    People arriving to Ireland from these countries will not have to restrict their movements for 14 days, and the list will be reviewed every fortnight.

    It does not include Spain, France or Portugal - which are the most popular holiday locations for the Irish.

    The countries on the green list are: Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino.

    In a statement, the Government said the pandemic is not over and the safest thing to do is not to travel.

    It Government also said it will continue with plans to strengthen the measures for monitoring passengers arriving into Ireland and processes will be explored to restrict flight or passenger travel in certain circumstances.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team advice remains against all non-essential foreign travel, regardless of whether a country is on the 'green list' or not.

    Ballygar-based GP Dr Martin Daly, a former president of the Irish Medical Organisation, says the list is not a good idea, as it sends out mixed messages....

  • Level 3 restrictions will come into force across the country from midnight tonight.

    That's after the Cabinet rejected a recommendation from the National Public Health Emergency team that would see the country moving to level 5 - the highest level of restrictions.

    The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has played down any rift between NPHET and the Government over implementing Covid restrictions.

    That's despite Tánaiste Leo Varadkar saying last night that the proposals from Dr Tony Holohan were "not thought through".

    The new restrictions will be reviewed by Ministers in three weeks time.



  • Death figures reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) at Covid-19 briefings “may be inaccurate”, a Mayo coroner has said.

    Mayo coroner and solicitor Patrick O’Connor believes the recorded death figures for the illness “do not have a scientific basis”.

    As of last Thursday, a total of 4,820 deaths related to Covid-19 have been recorded in Ireland.

    Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr O’Connor, who is public information officer for the Coroners Society of Ireland says cases where Covid is recorded as the principal cause of death when a person is already terminally ill, raise questions about the accuracy of the method of recording.

    “In reality, a lot of people have terminal cancer or multiple other serious co-morbidities. People can die from Covid and or with Covid”. He has said that he thinks numbers that are recorded as Covid deaths may be inaccurate and do not have a scientific basis.

    While all Covid-related deaths must be reported to the coroner, Covid-19 deaths do not require inquests because the illness is considered a pneumonia and therefore a natural cause of death.

    However, a coroner can direct an inquest into a death based on individual circumstances and where there is a concern in relation to a person who became infected with the illness.

    Mr O’Connor has opened two such inquests in Co Mayo into the death of 17-year-old Ballyhaunis student Sally Maaz and 79-year-old John Carolan from Ballina.

     Both died after contracting the virus at Mayo University Hospital and these inquests have been adjourned for mention on June 21.

    “These two inquests are taking place because of the individual circumstances of each person at the time of their death,” Mr O’Connor said.

     “Every death reported to a coroner is examined carefully. Whether an inquest is directed by the coroner is at his or her discretion and depends on the individual circumstances of such a death.”

  • The Education Minister is cautiously optimistic schools can begin a phased reopening on the 1st of March.

    The plan is to bring back Leaving Cert students and the youngest classes in primary school first.

    Other classes are likely to follow around two weeks later.

     Minister Norma Foley says it all depends on Covid cases but she's hopeful it can happen......



    Meanwhile, the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid will meet this afternoon to get advice on when parts of the economy might re-open in the coming months.

    NPHET is expected to advise on a school re-opening date that could be as early as March 1st.

    That will start with Leaving Certs and the younger classes in primary school, with a review every two weeks.

    NPHET will also advise on whether construction can more fully open in March, which the Department of Housing is pushing for.



  • The National Public Health Emergency Team is predicting a 70% drop in Covid-19 hospital admissions by mid-March if the country continues on its current path.

    It says the number could drop to 250 in less than a month - 813 people are currently receiving treatment in public hospitals.

    NPHET says daily cases numbers could also fall to 200 by March 1st.

    It comes as a further 33 deaths were reported yesterday evening from Covid-19, along with  744 new cases of the virus.

    301 of the cases were in Dublin, with the second highest number in Galway at 77.

    Elsewhere in Connacht, 22 new cases were reported in Mayo, and 5 each in Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo.

    The 14-day incidence rate of the virus nationally is now 269 per 100,000 people.

    Galway has the 4th highest rate nationally at 342 per 100,000.

    Galway has seen 885 new cases of the virus over the past fortnight.

  • No counties will be moved up a level of restrictions today after a decision from NPHET.

    However, there will be further nationwide restrictions on visitors to people’s homes.

    The rules are to change meaning people can have no more than six people from ONE other household in your home at any one time.

    It's in a bid to reduce community transmission caused by gatherings in houses and apartments.

    There had been some speculation that Galway, Roscommon, Cork and Monaghan may have been moved up a level but that doesn't appear to be the case at the moment.

  • NPHET has recommended the entire country move to level five restrictions for four weeks.

    Government party leaders are set to meet the CMO to discuss it tomorrow.

    After a lengthy NPHET meeting this afternoon and evening public health officials have recommended putting the entire country back into a full lockdown.

    The meeting, chaired by CMO Dr Tony Holohan, said all counties should move to level five restrictions for four weeks in response to the escalating number of new cases.

    The recommendation has caught the government by surprise, and the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Green Party leader will meet with Dr Holohan to discuss it tomorrow.

    They want to know why such an escalation is needed, given no such measures were deemed appropriate at NPHET's last meeting on Thursday.

    They're also conscious of the economic and social impact another lockdown would have.

    Under level five all pubs and restaurants would have to close and do delivery only.

    All shops except for essential retail will have to close, no social visits to people would be allowed.

    All but essential work must be done from home and people would be told to stay at home in all circumstances except for food shopping and exercise within five kilometres of your home.

    It's expected party leaders will meet the CMO tomorrow before the cabinet considers whether or not to implement the recommendation.

  • An immunology expert says fully vaccinated people should be able to move around largely unrestricted.

    It comes as NPHET is discussing a potential Covid-19 'vaccine bonus' today.

    At present, anyone who is a close contact of someone with Covid-19 has to restrict their movements for 14 days.

    But that could be about to change - NPHET is considering getting rid of this requirement for people who have been fully vaccinated.

    Seán Moynihan, the CEO of older persons support group Alone, says this would make an enormous difference.

    Last week the government said two fully vaccinated people could meet indoors, and it's hoped more freedoms will be coming soon.

  • The National Public Health Emergency team will meet again tomorrow to decide if further restrictions are needed in four counties, including Roscommon and Galway, due to the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases.

    It comes as Roscommon's 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population is now at over 99.

    In Galway, the incidence rate is now 65.5 and just under 30 per 100,000 in Mayo.

    In Donegal and Dublin - which are at level 3 of restrictions - the rate is now over 204 in Donegal and 156 in the capital.

    One further death was recorded yesterday evening from coronavirus, with 363 additional cases.

    This included 15 new cases in Co Roscommon, 14 in Galway and 5 in Mayo.

    There's also one confirmed case of Covid-19 being treated at Mayo University Hospital and one also at University Hospital Galway.

    Meanwhile, the HSE West is urging everyone across counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon to continue their efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19.

  • The National Public Health Emergency Team has been meeting to discuss the potential easing of some COVID restrictions.

    The 5 kilometre limit, small outdoor gatherings, outdoor sport and construction are being considered.

    The HSE says this round of easing of restrictions is about striking a balance about the spread of the virus and people's mental health.

    NPHET will pass on its recommendations to Government this evening, and Cabinet Ministers will make the final call on what's happening tomorrow.