Follow the latest coronavirus news in Ireland and across the world on the Independent.ie live blog.
Coronavirus cluster found on cargo ship in Australia
Rod McGuirk, Associated Press
A coronavirus cluster has been detected on a freight ship berthed in the Australian west coast port of Fremantle.
Six of 48 crew members from the Al Kuwait tested positive for the virus four days after the livestock carrier arrived from the United Arab Emirates on Friday, Western Australia state Premier Mark McGowan said.
The six infected crew were transferred to hotel quarantine in the nearby city of Perth while health officials consider what to do with the remaining 42 people on board, he said.
The ship’s cargo of 56,000 sheep is being held at a facility near the port.
They were to be loaded within days and cannot be returned to farms because of quarantine restrictions, Mr McGowan said.
Intensive care boss ‘considerably worried’ over risk of second wave
Cate McCurry, PA
An intensive care boss has said hospital staff are “considerably worried” over the risks of a second wave of coronavirus as Ireland relaxes its quarantine rules.
Dr Catherine Motherway, president of the Intensive Care Society of Ireland, said there is particular concern ahead of next winter’s flu season as the hospital system is always under pressure during that period.
Experts have warned of the dangers of a second wave hitting the country if it moves too quickly to relax restrictions on people’s movement.
Professor Motherway told RTE’s Morning Ireland: “I think we’re all considerably worried about that (second wave) in the hospital services because we will always be stressed and under pressure in the winter anyway because of the flu season.”
Coronavirus vaccine: Novavax begins human trials in Australia
Human trials for a coronavirus vaccine have begun in Australia as US biotechnology company Novavax hopes to release a proven jab this year.
The company said 131 volunteers in Melbourne and Brisbane are being used to test the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
Animal testing suggested it is effective in low doses, and Novavax could manufacture at least 100 million doses this year and 1.5 billion in 2021, the company’s research chief Dr Gregory Glenn said.
He added: “We are in parallel making doses, making vaccine in anticipation that we’ll be able to show it’s working and be able to start deploying it by the end of this year.”
WHO executive warns first wave of coronavirus is not yet over
A health expert has warned that the world is still in the midst of the “first wave” of the coronavirus pandemic.
World Health Organisation (WHO) executive director Dr Mike Ryan warned that the risks of reigniting coronavirus outbreaks are complicating efforts to fend off further misery for the many millions who have lost their jobs.
Dr Ryan said: “Right now, we’re not in the second wave. We’re right in the middle of the first wave globally.
“We’re still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up.”
Dr Ryan pointed to South America, South Asia and other areas where the number of infections is still on the rise.
Mindful of the risks, Americans settled for small processions and online tributes instead of parades on Monday as the US observed Memorial Day in the shadow of the pandemic.
‘Don’t leave it until the last minute’ – Education Minister urges Leaving Certificate students to register for calculated grading
Education Minister Joe McHugh has urged Leaving Certificate students to not “leave it until the last minute” before registering for calculated grading.
The new online calculated grades student portal will open for registration to Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied students from today.
All Leaving Certificate and Leaving Certificate Applied students are required to register on gov.ie/leavingcertificate between 10am Tuesday, May 26 and 10pm Thursday, May 28.
Mr McHugh urged students: “Please don’t leave it until the last minute. This is a tight timeframe. We need every student to register so that the new system can operate smoothly.”
.Some 61,000 students are expected to register on the portal, 58,000 of which are following the Leaving Certificate or Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme, and 3,000 Leaving Certificate Applied Students.
Students will have the option of confirming the level at which they wish to sit each subject, or changing to a lower level.
Upon registering, students must have the following information to hand:
- Their Examination Number
- Their Personal Public Service number (PPS), which they will use to create a four-digit Personal Identification Number
- Email address
- Mobile phone number
Once the Department has received all the necessary data from schools, students will be asked to opt in through the portal to indicate if they wish to receive calculated grades.
“The important message for Leaving Certificate students is that they must now register by Thursday at 10pm to ensure that they can receive their Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades,” Mr McHugh added.
“It is also essential that students confirm their levels at this time so that schools can complete the task of providing information for each student about their expected level of performance in each subject.”
Students can register by clicking here.
South Korea reports 19 new coronavirus cases as children return to school
South Korea has reported 19 new coronavirus cases on the eve of the return to school for more than two million children.
The majority of the new cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have been actively tracing transmissions linked to nightclubs and other entertainment venues.
South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also reported two more deaths, bringing the country’s total to 269 fatalities from 11,225 cases.
Wednesday will see around 2.4 million pupils return to school, and health minister Park Neung-hoo urged school officials to double-check their preventive measures.
Nursing homes were a ‘blind spot’ early on in response to pandemic
Nursing homes were a “significant ‘blind spot'” in the State’s coronavirus response and were left “isolated” in the early days of the pandemic, it has been claimed.
The claims come as the Dáil’s Special Committee on Covid-19 Response today examines the impact of the pandemic on nursing homes.
Politicians will hear from older people advocacy organisation Sage Advocacy, Nursing Homes Ireland – which represents private facilities – and State watchdog the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa).
The committee will also be attended by representatives of the HSE and, later today, from the Department of Justice in relation to Covid-19 outbreaks in direct provision centres for asylum seekers.
Government warns it won’t cover €500m Covid-19 black hole in higher education
The Government will not cover Covid-19 losses of at least €500m facing third-level colleges, the Department of Education has warned.
Department officials have signalled support for extreme cases, where cash flow difficulties may be serious enough to threaten a college’s viability.
But otherwise, universities, institutes of technology and other publicly funded colleges have been told to look to their own reserves, or any other financial mechanism available to them, to cushion Covid’s financial fallout.
The Higher Education Authority (HEA) recently sought a “significant government intervention in the form of a financial support package” to support the sector “through this crisis”.