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Easing of restrictions for areas with low Covid-19 rate, like Kilkenny, ruled out

It's as up to 21 new cases across Carlow and Kilkenny were announced

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer has ruled out a regional approach to restrictions across Ireland.

Leitrim, Kilkenny, Monaghan and Mayo have had an average of less than five cases a day over the past five days.

A further 520 new cases were recorded nationally yesterday, 17 of them in Carlow with up to four in Kilkenny.

While there were 342 people in public hospitals last night – a reduction of 24 in the past 24 hours. Five were in St Luke’s General with one in intensive care there.

18 were at University Hospital Waterford after two new admissions with two other suspected cases while three are in ICU.

Dr. Ronan Glynn says Ireland must take a national approach when it comes to restrictions.

Meanwhile the chair of NPHET’s Modelling Group says there is “some concern” around a possible increase in Covid-19 cases in children following the reopening of schools.

However, Professor Philip Nolan says transmission rates remain “very low”.

Nursing Homes

The number of Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes has passed 2,000.

The Department of Health will tell an Oireachtas committee today the current figure is 2,009, which is 44% of all deaths here.

But it will say the number of open outbreaks in these settings has dropped by 62% in the past month.

Dr Denis McCauley, from the Irish Medical Organisation, says the improvement is down to the vaccine rollout.


Half of Irish restaurants face permanent closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a group representing the sector.

The Restaurants Association will be among the hospitality groups at today’s Oireachtas Tourism Committee, highlighting the need for more supports and a plan for reopening.

The Hotels Federation will also outline how revenue across its sector fell by 60 per cent last year.

Meanwhile, the Licensed Vintners Association will tell the committee all pubs and other hospitality businesses should be allowed open at the same time.

Chief Executive, Donall O’Keeffe, says there must be a vaccination bonus in terms of reopening without restrictions.


The new system of mandatory hotel quarantine will be active later today, after the Health Minister signed the regulations last night.

The first people arriving here from certain high-risk countries will be placed in hotels by the end of the week.

They will be forced to stay there for 14 days or face a fine or jail time.

But Deputy Paul Murphy, from People Before Profit, says it should be expanded to include every country in the world.

Northern Ireland

Today marks one year since Northern Ireland entered its first full lockdown.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered people to stay at home for three weeks, except for very limited purposes.

Nearly 750,000 Covid-19 vaccinations have now been administered in the North, which reported its lowest number of cases in six months yesterday, at 87.

Dr Tom Black, the Northern Ireland chair of the British Medical Association, says the vaccine programme is going well.


Germany has extended its lockdown, five days before it was due to end.

Restrictions that were planned to finish on Sunday will now last until the 18th of April, meaning Easter gatherings are banned.

The country’s leader Angela Merkel says the British variant means they’re essentially dealing with a new virus, which is more contagious.