Michael Staines
Michael Staines

06.52 9 Apr 2020


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Restrictions on movement and travel could be in place for months to come.

The death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 235, after a further 25 people were confirmed to have lost their lives, while 365 new cases have been confirmed.

There are now 6,074 diagnosed cases of the virus.

The European Centre for Disease Control has warned that it is too early for countries to start lifting community and physical distancing measures.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the restrictions must stay in place until the growth rate of the virus is reduced significantly.

***

The British and Irish governments will discuss the coronavirus crisis with Northern Ireland's political leaders today.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney and the UK's Northern secretary, Brandon Lewis, will chair the conference call.

The North's first and deputy first ministers will also participate, along with the health ministers from north and south.

The Government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Executive in the North this week pledging to strengthen cooperation in response to the virus.

***

The World Health Organisation has called on world leaders not to politicise the pandemic.

There are now 1.5 million cases of Covid-19 globally, and 88,000 people have died.

On Tuesday, the US President Donald Trump accused the WHO of “missing the call” on the outbreak and threatened to cut off its funding.

Last night, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said unity is needed to beat the virus and warned that politicising it will result in “many more body bags.”

***

Three people are in custody after drugs worth over €500,000 were uncovered in Laois.

Gardaí searched a man Rossvale, Portlaoise yesterday and searched a man in his 30s, and found €20,000 worth of cannabis.

A follow-up search took place at a nearby house, where officers found cannabis worth €500,000 and cocaine worth €35,000.

Another man and a woman, both in their 30s, were arrested and brought to Portlaoise Garda Station.

***

The number of calls and emails to the HSE’s Drug and Alcohol Helpline increased by more than 29% last year.

According to details released under the Freedom of Information Act, there were more than 5,500 contacts in 2019.

That is up from 4,300 the previous year.


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