Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By Sarah Mooney

Children attend school during the pandemic. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA.

There have been three new deaths and 254 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the Republic, according to the Department of Health.

The figures come as new restrictions for the capital came into effect at midnight last night, following the announcement of the Government’s new Living with Covid-19 plan.

Dublin now has a 14 day incidence rate of 104.0 cases of the virus per 100,000, which is twice the national average of 53.0, according to new figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC).

The Government has come under scrutiny for deciding to place the capital on Level Two of its plan with the remainder of the county, however, further restrictions have not been ruled out as Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said today that there is a “strong” and a “very real possibility” that Dublin will move to Level Three.

While there has not been an instruction for the public not to visit Dublin, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath advised today that if people did not need to travel to the capital, they should not do so.

Northern Ireland

There have been 129 new cases of the virus recorded in the North today, with 641 cases confirmed over the last seven days.

Two further deaths related to Covid-19 were recorded in the region.

Localised restrictions to curb the spread of the virus in Northern Ireland became legally enforceable today, with residents in areas such as Belfast and Ballymena barred from visiting other households.

Postcode areas may be added and removed from the local restrictions as patterns of infection change, while further interventions and restrictions can be introduced as necessary.

Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Last week, the Executive made the difficult decision to introduce localised restrictions and sought the good will of the public to adhere to that request.

“I am very aware of the difficulties some of these restrictions might cause, however the decisions were not taken lightly.”

Mr Swann also condemned what he branded “deplorable” behaviour of some students who have been gathering for house parties in the Holylands area of Belfast: “Dangerous, anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Mr Swann said Northern Ireland was on a “knife edge” in regard to the prospect of a major new wave of infections.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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