COVID-19: 25 deaths and 480 confirmed cases today

The Department of Health has announced that 25 people diagnosed with COVID-19 have died. The people included 11 females and 14 males. 23 deaths were in the east and 2 were in the west of the country.

There have now been 288 COVID-19 deaths in Ireland.

The Department of Health has also announced 480 confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the Republic to 7,054.

Today’s data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre reveals

  • 45% of cases are male and 54% are female.
  • The median age of confirmed cases is 48 years.
  • 23% (1,631 cases) have been hospitalized and 244 of those have been admitted to ICU.
  • 1,949 of cases are assosciated with healthcare workers.
  • Dublin has the highest number of cases at 3,873, 55% of all cases followed by Cork with 503 cases (7%).

Dr Tony Holohan, the Chief Medical Officer, said: “We are at a very delicate and critical point in our response to this disease. While measures to date have succeeded in reducing the spread, COVID-19 remains a risk to the people of Ireland.”

Earlier in the day, the Taoiseach announced that the Covid-19 restrictions will be extended for a further three weeks until Tuesday 5 May.

The Minister for Education, Joe McHugh, announced that the Junior Certificate examinations would be cancelled and the Leaving Certificate examinations have been postponed until late July or August. The Junior Certificate will be replaced by school based assessments and school exams.

McHugh also said that schools would remain closed “until further notice”. He said that the school year wasn’t over, though there is currently no date for schools to re-open, it is a possibility. He said the department had engaged with third level institutions and that they had adopted a position of flexibility and have indicated that they will work with the new timeline.

Mr McHugh said on RTÉ’s Drivetime officials looked at the viability of introducing a predicted grading system for Leaving Certificate students this year but felt it was not possible.

Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne has welcomed the decision to delay the leaving certificate until later in the summer. Deputy Byrne said: “It is welcome that the Minister for Education has finally provided some clarity to students on the Leaving Certificate. The prospect of exams taking place during a period of school closures was unfair for students and would be extremely difficult to deliver with the integrity that had previously been in place.

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said that the decision to delay the Leaving Cert is not a great surprise, but that preparation must begin now to ensure a written leaving cert can safely be delivered on a new date. Deputy Ó Laoghaire said that fees for the Junior Cert should be cancelled, and fees for the Leaving Cert deferred.

“When you consider that the first exam was due to begin in less than eight weeks, we have felt that it was increasingly clear over recent weeks, that to deliver a written leaving cert in June, seemed very unlikely. As important as the State exams clearly are the interests of public health have to be the first priority.”

“What I, advocates for students, their families, and teachers have been seeking is clarity, and while we know a bit more, we do not have the full clarity that students would like. We now do not have an actual date for a leaving cert, which is unprecedented. For students, the ongoing stress and anxiety continues, and it has been unbearable at a time when anxiety is already high. It has been deeply unfair on them.”

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said: “The fees for the exams cost €116 per child, at a time when families who do not qualify for the waiver are out of work, and really struggling. It should be deferred, and some form of expanded waiver considered for a later date.”

Bobby McLoughlin

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