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30 new outbreaks of Covid-19 at schools across the country as up to 15 new cases are confirmed in Carlow & Kilkenny

They're among the 444 latest positive results nationwide

30 new Covid-19 outbreaks were identified at schools over the past week, while there are 125 open clusters in the settings.

Households is still the largest spreader of the disease according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre with over 3,000 open clusters.

It comes as 444 new infections were reported in the Republic, 11 in Kilkenny and up to four in Carlow, with the estimated national 14-day incidence rate falling again to 212 per 100,000 population.

Carlow’s rate however continues to be higher than the national, now at 245.9 making it the sixth highest in the country, while Kilkenny has the sixth lowest at 136.

The reproductive number of the disease is believed to be between 0.7 and 0.9.

GP Illona Duffy says the key to keeping the infection rates low is stopping non-essential travel across the border.

The Health Minister Stephen Donnelly believes the recent drop in new covid-19 cases and the 14 day incidence rate is down to enhanced level 3 restrictions. He says the level 5 regulations have not led to these drops but will help suppress the virus further.

Elsewhere …

The Northern Ireland Executive will meet later to review the four-week circuit breaker lockdown.

The Covid-19 restrictions are due to end on November 13th.

However case numbers remain high, with almost 4,500 recorded in the past seven days.

The hospital system is also operating at near full capacity, with just 20 ICU beds available.

Anne Speed is the lead negotiator for the North’s health trade unions – she believes the lockdown will be extended

Meanwhile, England enters its second Covid-19 lockdown today.

Everyone there has been ordered to stay at home for four weeks – except for education, work, food shopping or exercise.

Gyms, entertainment venues and non-essential stores have to shut, while pubs and restaurants can only offer takeaways.

Chair of the UK Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, says they won’t tolerate people breaching the new restrictions.