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Number of Covid cases fall in most parts of the country but Carlow & Kilkenny see a rise

33 new positive results were returned for the two counties in the latest figures

The Chief Medical Officer says he doesn’t anticipate any easing of Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions earlier than planned.

There’s been a fall in the number of new cases in most parts of the country with 767 announced last evening, but locally we’ve seen a bit of a jump with 18 in Kilkenny & 15 in Carlow (to midnight Sunday).

The 14-day incidence for the country is now estimated to be at 248 per 100,000. Carlow’s remains above that at 275.8 while Kilkenny’s has risen to 142.1

Health officials have raised concerns over the “stubbornly” high levels of Covid-19 in Dublin.

Dr Tony Holohan doesn’t think lifting some lockdown measures before December 1st is currently an option.

Schools …

There are plans to “red flag” Covid 19 tests from schools as part of efforts to speed up the testing and tracing process.

Dr Siobhan Ni Bhriain from the HSE says labs will prioritise turning around results for staff and students.

Pubs & Restaurants …

Garda powers to make pubs and restaurants comply with Covid-19 restrictions could be extended until next June.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee will look for an approval on the extension at a meeting of Cabinet later.

The move is seen as necessary, as a clause in the current legislation means it could expire on November 9th.

President of the Vintners’ Federation, Padraig Cribben, is concerned about the length of the extension being sought.

Travel …

The Chief Medical Officer will be before the Transport Committee later as questions remain around people coming home for Christmas from overseas.

Dr Tony Holohan will face questions on travel advice, testing at airports and the new European traffic light system.

Fine Gael TD and Committee Chair, Kieran O’Donnell, says it’s important people can travel at Christmas.

Prison …

A number of staff at the Midlands Prison have tested positive for Covid-19.

The Prison Service says they were identified following mass testing at the facility.

It comes after five inmates were found to have tested positive for the virus last week.

No further cases among prisoners has been detected and the Prison Service says contact tracing of the staff involved is now underway.

Elsewhere …

The UK Prime Minister is insisting the national lockdown in England will be lifted on December 1st.

Yesterday Boris Johnson apologised to those affected as businesses get ready to shut their doors for four weeks from Thursday.

Carolyn Fairbanks from British business group CBI says there needs to be more clarity on further lockdowns there.

The entire population of Liverpool will be offered a Covid-19 test as UK health officials launch a pilot “whole city” screening programme.

The city’s been under Tier 3 restrictions for nearly three weeks, and has one of the highest coronavirus rates in England.

The British Army is being drafted in to support NHS workers, who’ll use hundreds of thousands of new rapid test kits.

The mass testing tactic has already been used to deal with outbreaks in Chinese cities this autumn.

Covid Life …

Damon Albarn says the Covid-19 outbreak is “a medical emergency but an existential one as well”.

The Blur frontman would usually have been touring this year to promote the new album from his band Gorillaz.

He says it’s a tough time for the music industry – which so many people depend on to help raise their spirits.