Residents at long-term care facilities and nursing homes will be allowed two visits per week from today.
Since December, some visits were allowed on compassionate grounds.
Now nursing home residents can have two visits per week on general compassionate grounds, once there’s a high level of vaccination in the facility
There is no requirement to limit each visit to less than one hour.
Sage Advocacy says the country’s 30,000 nursing home residents and their families are looking forward to safe, meaningful reunions together.
It says visiting arrangements have been a key issue since last March when Covid-19 was first reported in nursing homes.
Since then, residents have had limited or often no contact at all with their loved ones.
It says the new guidance today is a very welcome first step and it’s urging nursing homes to respect and comply with the latest guidance.
A public health expert’s describing the latest coronavirus figures as ‘troubling’.
NPHETt has confirmed two more people have died with 769 new cases confirmed, six in Kilkenny with five in Carlow.
Trinity College Dublin Associate Professor Tomás Ryan says the lockdown is working in many parts of the country, like Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Carlow and Leitrim.
But he says we need to find out why restrictions are working less well in other counties.
It’s as the national 14-day incidence rate of the virus stands at 155.3 per 100,000 population.
Kilkenny’s is about a quarter of that with the county again having the country’s lowest figure of 36.3.
While Carlow remains in the eighth highest spot on a rate of 147.5.
Seven patients with Coronavirus are being treated at St Luke’s General Hospital for Carlow and Kilkenny with one person in intensive care and a further suspected case.
While at University Hospital Waterford three are in ICU, among 20 with the virus after one new admission with three more showing symptoms.
75,000 people are set to be vaccinated by their GPs as the inoculation of people over 75 “ramps up” this week.
It comes as a vaccine export ban from the EU is now firmly on the agenda ahead of a European Council meeting on Thursday.
Britain’s NHS was able to inject a record number on Saturday, reaching nearly 850,000 people at a rate of 27 jabs a second.
That’s more in one day than all the doses given by the HSE in Ireland since December.
Little wonder then, that the tough talk on a vaccine export ban has only intensified.
Irish Commissioner Mairead McGuinness told the BBC European citizens are angry about AstraZeneca’s failure to deliver.
It’s understood British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to lobby EU heads of state ahead of Thursday’s Council of Europe meeting to try and avert the ban.
Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune says Italy has already shown it’s prepared to take action.
At home, the HSE says 1,000 GPs will give between 70,000 and 75,000 shots this week, with a focus on those aged between 75 and 79.
Hospital vaccine clinics are already back at work giving the AstraZeneca formula — but it’s thought it could take up to two weeks to catch up after last week’s delay to 30-thousand of them.
Mandatory hotel quarantine’s expected to begin later this week for air passengers from 33 countries.
There’s concern that 1,200 people from ‘high risk’ countries arrived here in the three weeks after the Government signed off on the plan.
Mandatory hotel quarantine means they’ll have to stay in a hotel for 14 days, or face a fine or jail time for breaking the law.
In the US
A state of emergency is declared in Miami Beach after huge crowds gathered in the city to celebrate the spring break holiday.
More than a thousand arrests have been made – and city officials say more than half of those people live outside Florida.
An 8pm curfew could remain in place for weeks.
Richard Clements, the Miami Beach police chief, says these strict rules are necessary.
Celebrities, businesses and religious leaders are encouraging the public to donate to the ‘biggest’ international vaccine drive in history.
Unicef‘s VaccinAid will aim to provide two billion Covid injections to health workers and the most vulnerable populations worldwide.
Over €6 billion has been pledged to the initiative from the world’s richest economies.
Researchers believe they’ve found a link between Covid-19 and hearing loss.
More than 50 studies have been carried out – and tinnitus was found in an average of 7% of patients who had the disease.
Scientists admit more work needs to be done to look at the association long-term.