Republic of Ireland news

'Positive' meeting on Donegal's high Covid rates

People in border areas have been urged to follow Covid restrictions. Picture Margaret by McLaughlin
Paul Ainsworth

THE Republic's health minister has described a meeting about Donegal's high rate of Covid infections as "very positive".

Stephen Donnelly spoke with local political representatives, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan and his deputy Ronan Glynn at the weekend.

Donegal has a 14-day incidence rate of almost 300 infections per 100,000 people, compared to an average of 127 across the state.

Northern Ireland's seven-day rolling figure is just 34 per 100,000.

The figures have been attributed to “persistent and unfortunately reasonably widespread non-compliance of measures", including birthday parties and social events linked to funerals.

Mr Donnelly tweeted that the virtual meeting on Saturday was "very positive", adding: "A lot of good work already happening that can be supported."

The north's outgoing first minister Arlene Foster yesterday urged people in border counties to "respect the restrictions" and show "common sense" to prevent an increase in infections.

She was speaking after health authorities north and south raised concerns about the case numbers in border areas.

In a joint statement, the Health Service Executive and the Public Health Agency warned of the risks of an increase in transmission.

The Republic's Department of Health revealed yesterday that another person has died with Covid, taking the overall death toll there to 4,906. There were also 402 new infections identified.

Three more deaths were recorded on Saturday and 569 cases of the virus.

In the north, Stormont's Department of Health also reported another death yesterday, bringing its running total to 2,146, and 69 new cases.

There were 90 Covid infections recorded on Saturday, but no deaths.

Meanwhile, Dr Holohan yesterday urged those who have been vaccinated to "get back out there" once restrictions begin to ease in the south from May 10.

Writing in an open letter, he said that the pandemic has dealt every person in Ireland an "unfair hand".

"Everyone has made difficult sacrifices, everyone has had one of the most uniquely challenging years of their lives. In that sense, we are all in this together," he said.

"However, there are some of us who were faced with more difficulties than others: firstly, those of you who have been bereaved by this disease and have experienced loss in a way that has been cruelly constrained by this disease and the restrictions it imposes on us. I would like to express my sincere condolences to each of you."

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