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The national 14-day Covid-19 incidence rate continues to fall but ICU admissions are up

It's as 552 new cases are confirmed across the country, up to 12 of them in Carlow & Kilkenny

The number of people who’ve tested positive for Covid-19 has now passed a 100,000 on the island of Ireland.

It’s after 685 more cases were recorded in the North last evening and 552 in the Republic, eight of them in Kilkenny with Carlow reporting less than five.

Two more deaths were also confirmed across the country.

The national 14-day Covid-19 incidence rate has continued to fall for the sixth day in a row and it’s decreased 18% in the past week.

It now stands at 253 per 100,000. In Carlow it’s still above the national figure but has fallen to 268.7 while Kilkenny’s is now at 132.

44 people are in ICU for the second day in a row, the highest number since late-May.

It comes as the HSE has confirmed it’s drawing up plans for vaccine clinics, with several leading candidates set to finish up their phase three trials by the end of this year.

But public health expert Professor Anthony Staines says it will take some time to have one ready for the public.

Elsewhere …

The UK Prime Minister is warning there could be twice as many Covid-19 deaths over the winter as there were in the first wave if people don’t stick to new lockdown rules.

Boris Johnson is to tell MPs in the House of Commons there was “no alternative” to the four-week shutdown in England which begins on Thursday.

But Professor John Edmunds from the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies thinks this should have been done earlier.

Scotland’s new five-tier lockdown system comes into force this morning.

Local authorities have been given a rating from zero to four but nowhere’s currently in the highest category.

In Scotland’s central belt, licensed premises can re-open today but only until 6pm.

The Welsh First Minister will announce a new set of restrictions this afternoon – for when the country’s 17-day lockdown ends.

Mark Drakeford says the new framework will be “easier for everybody to understand” when it comes into force a week today.

He’s admitted the series of local measures “didn’t work well enough”.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Prince William had Covid-19 earlier this year around the same time as his father.

It’s reported he “didn’t want to worry anyone” by announcing he had tested positive.

Charles contracted the virus in March and had mild symptoms.

Germany has entered a month-long lockdown, with bars, restaurants, gyms and theatres all closing.

Schools and shops will stay open though.

Travel’s also being discouraged, and hotels are being advised not to take tourist bookings.

WHO Head …

The head of the World Health Organisation’s isolating after coming into contact with someone who’s tested positive for Covid-19.

Tedros Adhanom says he’s “well and without symptoms” but would still self-quarantine “over the coming days, in line with W-H-O protocols”.

The 55-year-old tweeted: “It is critically important that we all comply with health guidance.”