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Kilkenny among four counties with a Covid-19 incidence rate of less than 200 (at 177) per 100,000 people while Carlow’s is now at 242

It's as Dr Tony Holohan says we all need to act as though we are close contacts

A hand sanitiser widely used in schools has been recalled after it’s been proven to cause skin issues, headaches and respiratory issues.

The Department of Education say schools may close today as a result.

Tests were carried out by the Department of Agriculture which shows Viropro Hand Sanitiser doesn’t comply with regulations around the products products.

In a statement, it says prolonged use of Viropro can cause dermatitis, eye irritation, upper respiratory system irritation as well as headaches.

The company which makes the product has been told to recall all of its bottles immediately.

The Department of Education meanwhile say it is one of 11 hand sanitisers used in schools.

It is advising schools to make local arrangements to buy other products and says they should maximise hand washing.

And if a Prinicipal decides it is not safe to open without stocks of hand sanitiser they can close early for the mid-term break.

The Department of Agriculture says an investigation is ongoing.

Contact Tracing …

It comes as the Chief Medical Officer says he’s not concerned about the breakdown in the contact tracing system.

The HSE asked 2,500 people who tested positive to do their own contact tracing after the system became overwhelmed. (Read about one local Deputy’s input on this in the Dail here).

A further 1,066 cases were confirmed last night, along with three additional deaths.

The national 14 day incidence rate is now 302 cases per 100,000 people.

22 new positive tests in Carlow have seen the county’s rate jump to 242 per 100,000 while Kilkenny’s among just four counties to have a rate of less than 200, but it’s now at 177 with the latest 14 cases.

Dr. Tony Holohan says we all need to act as though we are close contacts.

While Chair of NPHET’s modelling committee Professor Philip Nolan says it’s essential we get the reproduction number below 1.

Nursing Homes …

Nursing Homes Ireland say an outbreak among the majority of residents at a Galway facility is very disturbing.

25 out of the 27 residents at Nightingale Nursing home in Ahascragh were confirmed to have the virus, while one person has died.

The HSE says it’s providing support to the care home.

Nursing Homes Ireland Chief Executive, Tadhg Daly says nursing homes are more vulnerable due to a rise in community transmission.

Zero-Covid Strategy …

People Before Profit will launch a zero-covid strategy today, which they say will eliminate Covid-19 from the country.

The group doesn’t believe in constantly going in and out of lockdowns.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said the policy is not a viable option for the country.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett says they’re putting forward an alternative strategy to the Government’s.

In the UK …

Several areas in England could soon be facing tougher Covid-19 restrictions.

Talks will continue this morning to move Nottinghamshire into the highest level of measures, while Warrington and West Yorkshire are also considering it.

Those measures have now come in across Greater Manchester, meaning a ban on households mixing indoors, and pubs which don’t serve food closing.

The city was given 60 million pounds by the UK Government to support businesses – even though the Mayor said a minimum of 65 million was needed.

The region’s head of police Ian Hopkins says his force will do whatever it can to enforce the rules.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s First Minister will announce a five-tier plan of Covid-19 measures today after a three-tiered system was introduced in England.

If approved next week, the new rules will come into force on November 2nd.

Nicola Sturgeon has already said the three middle tiers will be similar to the English system, where areas are classed as either “medium”, “high” or “very high” risk.

And the Welsh health minister insists a lockdown, which comes in today, will not be extended.

The country will enter a “firebreak” at 6pm for 17 days, meaning pubs, restaurants and gyms will have to shut.

Supermarkets will also be banned from selling clothing and hardware to ensure a “level playing field” for other retailers.

Vaughan Gething says it may take some time for the data to catch up with those restrictions.

Pandemic Stress …

Stress around the Covid-19 pandemic has been found to be causing issues with body image in both men and women.

Research shows males have a greater desire for muscularity – and women for thinness.

The study author’s warned it could lead to more serious eating disorders – but said more research would need to be done.

Meanwhile, for details on how local marts are coping click here

For the latest travel click here

And for Road Safety Authority services information click here