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Carlow records two more Covid-19 cases than Kilkenny in the past fortnight

The county's now in the top ten for its incidence rate per 100,000 people while Kilkenny remains in the bottom three

The Chief Medical Officer says the recent dip in Covid-19 figures can’t be called a trend yet.

Last night, five additional deaths were confirmed with 720 new cases, 12 of them in Kilkenny with 11 in Carlow.

The national incidence rate has fallen slightly from yesterday to 307. Despite being the smaller of the two counties there have been two more incidences recorded in Carlow than Kilkenny in the past fortnight and Carlow’s now in the top ten counties with an increased rate of 309.1 on Monday’s figure while Kilkenny remains in the bottom three at 175.3 having dipped a little.

The case total has stayed below 1,000 for four out of the last five days.

However, Dr Tony Holohan insisted the country hasn’t turned a corner yet in suppressing the spread of the disease.

Contact Tracing …

Issues around the country’s contact tracing system will be discussed by TDs and Senators later.

Almost 2,000 people who get a positive test between the 16th and the 18th of October were asked by the HSE to carry out their own tracing as the system had become overwhelmed.

The HSE will be before the Oireachtas Health Committee to outline how the situation will be avoided in the future.

Member of the committee, Deputy Gino Kenny says the issue undermines public confidence in the system.

Meanwhile, the HSE say they want all new contact tracing staff to be trained properly.

Dr Siobhan Ni Bhriain says people don’t always react well to being told they are close contacts.

Pandemic Unemployment Payment …

An extra 1,588 people locally are in receipt of a pandemic unemployment payment this week.

Carlow’s up 684 to 3,082 while Kilkenny’s had an increase of 904 to 4,653.

The sector with the highest number of recipients is Accommodation & Food Service Activities followed by Wholesale & Retail Trade and Administrative & Support Services.

However Carlow saw 22 people close their PUP from this week, down four from last week, while it was nine less in Kilkenny to 35.

Tops for returning to work were Wholesale & Retail Trade, Repair of Motor Vehicles & Motorycycles and Accommodation & Food Service Activities.

Meanwhile, Carlow has 66 more people who have been medically certified for receipt of Enhanced Illness Benefit to this week – bringing the county’s numbers to 1,108 while Kilkenny’s increase of 76 sees a jump to 1,622.

Those working in the areas of Wholesale and Retail Trade, Human Health & Social Work and Manufacturing are to the fore for this.

Travel …

Aer Lingus, Ryanair and the DAA will all renew calls for rapid testing for Covid-19 at airports later today.

They will be speaking at the Oireachtas Transport Committee along with a representative from Rome Airport where the practice is underway already.

The committee was told yesterday that a common testing regime for European states could be ready within weeks.

Elsewhere …

Pressure is building on emergency departments in Northern Ireland, as health officials warn they’re in the middle of a second surge of Covid-19 cases.

The Antrim Area Hospital says it’s operating beyond capacity, with 27 sick people awaiting admission due to a lack of available beds.

Meanwhile the Causeway in Coleraine said last night that 24 people were on waiting lists.

The UK’s recorded its highest number of daily Covid-19 deaths since May.

Yesterday, official figures showed a further 367 people died within 28 days of testing positive.

Some restrictions on pubs and restaurants are going to be relaxed in areas of Scotland with fewer coronavirus cases.

From Monday a five tier system will apply, with lower risk places offering alcohol outdoors, and drinks indoors with a meal.

But in Level 3 – likely to apply to the central belt including Glasgow and Edinburgh – venues can only serve food.

There have been more protests in Italy after new Covid-19 restrictions were introduced across the country.

Demonstrators in Rome threw flares and flash grenades at police, who fought back with tear gas and a water cannon.

The new measures include a 6pm curfew for bars and restaurants and the closure of gyms, cinemas and swimming pools.

People in Melbourne can go to a cafe or a pub for the first time in four months.

The Australian city has lifted Covid-19 restrictions after a peak in late July which saw the area register more than 700 cases a day.

The state of Victoria has registered 90 percent of the country’s deaths related to Covid-19.

Vaccine …

The first generation of Covid-19 vaccine is “is likely to be imperfect” and “might not work for everyone” according to the head of the UK’s vaccine taskforce.

Kate Bingham also says the global manufacturing capacity for the jabs is vastly inadequate.

Writing in the Lancet medical journal, she says Covid-19 will probably evolve and pose future risks.