Belfast Telegraph Ireland
Woman and four children escape injury in Armagh shooting - Belfast Telegraph
A woman and four children escaped injury in a gun attack.
A woman and four children escaped injury in a gun attack. Police said shots were fired at a vehicle in Jonesborough around 11.30pm on Monday. Detective Inspector Handley added: It was reported that a dark-coloured Audi A4 vehicle had arrived in the Castle View area. "One man exited the vehicle with his hood over his face and fired a number of shots at a black coloured Nissan X-Trail parked outside a house in the area. "It was reported that a woman in her 50s and four children were inside the property but were not injured. Damage was caused to the car following the incident, as the dark coloured Audi A4 made off from the scene. The suspect vehicle was later recovered in the area of Thistle Court by An Garda Siochana, having been set alight and completely destroyed. Enquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances, in what was an extremely distressing incident for those inside the house. Detectives would appeal to anyone who was in the Castle View area of Jonesborough and may have witnessed anything suspicious should contact them on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 2310 03/08/20 or submit a report online using our non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ . You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/ . Belfast Telegraph
Republic of Ireland CMO warns against house parties over bank holiday weekend - Belfast Telegraph
Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn has warned against large gatherings and house parties over the bank holiday weekend as 45 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.
Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn has warned against large gatherings and house parties over the bank holiday weekend as 45 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. No further coronavirus-related deaths were recorded, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) said. There is now a total of 26,109 confirmed cases and a total of 1,763 Covid-19 related deaths in Ireland. Of the cases notified on Saturday, 23 are men and 22 are women. More than three quarters of the cases (77%) are under 45 years of age, while 50% are aged 25-44 years. Eighteen are associated with outbreaks or close contacts of a confirmed case, while 12 cases have been identified as community transmission. The HSE said it is working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread. Dr Glynn said over the last five days we have seen an average of 44 cases a day. This trend is clearly concerning and now is the time to ensure you and your families are making every effort to keep each other safe, he added. He urged people to avoid large gatherings over the bank holiday weekend. He said: Ensure gatherings are kept to a minimum and invite no more than 10 others into your home. Do not organise or attend house parties. Restaurants must enforce a limit of 50 people (including staff) on their premises at any one time. All workplaces should again review their procedures and protocols. Avoid congregated settings or environments where safety precautions are not in place. Wash your hands regularly, carry hand sanitiser and wear a face covering where appropriate. Ensure you isolate immediately if you experience any flu like symptoms. It is our individual action that will stop the spread. PA
Study finds wearing of mask doesn't lead to a dropping of guard over hand hygiene - Belfast Telegraph
Wearing a face covering does not lead to a false sense of security or make people less cautious about hand hygiene, experts have claimed.
Wearing a face covering does not lead to a false sense of security or make people less cautious about hand hygiene, experts have claimed. Their comments, published in the journal BMJ Analysis, are based on an examination of the scientific evidence available on mask-wearing in the context of respiratory virus infections. In Northern Ireland a public information campaign will encourage the use of face coverings in shops - but if enough people do not comply they will be made compulsory on August 20. Now researchers say evidence is growing that face coverings can reduce the spread of coronavirus. However, they acknowledge the studies they examined are yet to be peer-reviewed and, thus, should be treated with caution. But the scientists add that based on the limited evidence available, face coverings do not make people care less about the other key measures that the public have been asked to follow to reduce the spread of coronavirus, such as good hand hygiene. Early in the pandemic the World Health Organisation warned that covering the face could "create a false sense of security that can lead to neglecting other essential measures such as hand hygiene practices", a type of behaviour that is based on a theory known as "risk compensation". But in June it changed the guidance, advising people to wear masks in public areas "in light of evolving evidence". Last week in England wearing face coverings in indoor spaces became mandatory. Dr James Rubin, from King's College London's department of psychological medicine and the paper's co-author, said: "Many public health bodies are coming to the conclusion that wearing a face covering might help reduce the spread of Sars-CoV-2, and the limited evidence available suggests their use doesn't have a negative effect on hand hygiene." Risk compensation suggests that people adjust their behaviour according to the perceived level of risk, acting more cautiously where they sense greater risk and becoming less careful if they feel more protected. Experts have wondered whether wearing a mask would make people less cautious about other coronavirus risk-reducing measures. So a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge's Behaviour and Health Research Unit looked at 22 systematic reviews (which involves examining all available evidence on a topic), assessing the effect of wearing a mask on transmission of respiratory virus infections. According to the scientists, the results from six experimental studies indicated that wearing masks "does not reduce the frequency of hand washing or hand sanitising", with two studies showing "self-reported rates of hand washing were higher in the groups wearing masks". The team also found three observational studies that showed people tended to shy away from those wearing masks, which they believe implies "face coverings do not adversely affect physical distancing at least by those surrounding the wearer". But the researchers acknowledged these studies were not designed to assess risk compensation or look at social distancing. Belfast Telegraph
Government prepared to make tough calls to prioritise public health – Calleary - Belfast Telegraph
The Government is not scared to make tough calls to prioritise public health as Ireland continues to emerge from lockdown, the agriculture minister has said.
The Government is not scared to make tough calls to prioritise public health as Ireland continues to emerge from lockdown, the agriculture minister has said. Dara Calleary said pushing back the reopening date for all pubs demonstrated that ministers would not baulk at taking unpopular decisions in order to suppress Covid-19. Mr Callearys remarks came ahead of a week when the Government will publish its green list for safe travel and unveil an economic stimulus package aimed at supporting businesses and workers worst hit by the pandemic. Close Pubs closed their doors at the outset of the emergency in March (Aine McMahon/PA) PA Pubs closed their doors at the outset of the emergency in March (Aine McMahon/PA) The newly formed coalition, and in particular freshly appointed education minister Norma Foley, are also facing intensifying calls to provide clarity on plans for schools reopening at the end of August. Mr Calleary, who replaced Barry Cowen as agriculture minister last week following his sacking, said public health would be at the heart of all the Governments considerations. We made the tough call on the pubs during the week, he told RTEs The Week In Politics. We have shown as a Government that we will make tough calls, were not going to progress the (recovery) roadmap unless its safe to do so. It might be popular to do so, but unless its safe and unless public health stands up we cannot do so. Close Irelands travel green list is due to be published on Monday (Brian Lawless/PA) PA Irelands travel green list is due to be published on Monday (Brian Lawless/PA) At a Cabinet meeting on Monday, ministers are set to decide what countries will be included on Irelands green list for safe travel. Currently, people arriving in Ireland from overseas with limited exceptions such as essential supply chain workers are required to fill in a passenger locator form and self-quarantine for 14 days. People crossing the border from Northern Ireland are not subject to restrictions on their movement. Travellers arriving in Ireland from countries on the new green list will not be required to isolate for two weeks. Only countries that have a coronavirus infection rate the same or lower than Ireland will be included on the list. That means Great Britain and the US are both set to be excluded from the list, as potentially are other popular holiday destinations such as France, Spain and Portugal. Close Mr Calleary said the safe reopening of schools was the Governments number one priority (Niall Carson/PA) PA Mr Calleary said the safe reopening of schools was the Governments number one priority (Niall Carson/PA) People can still enter Ireland from countries not on the green list, but they will be required to self-isolate. That includes returning Irish holidaymakers. The Irish Government continues to advise citizens not to travel abroad for holidays this summer and has encouraged people to have a staycation in Ireland. That has prompted claims of mixed messaging from political rivals, who have accused the Government of adopting contradictory positions by designating safe destinations but warning people not to go overseas for holidays. Opposition politicians have highlighted that people who have already paid for foreign holidays are unlikely to be able to claim back the money if the Government categorises their chosen destinations as safe to travel to. Mr Calleary insisted the Government was putting out a clear message on travel. The advice is non-essential travel is still out, it's not recommended, but we have to have a structure in place for business travel, for necessary business travelDara Calleary, agriculture minister The green list is going to be established purely because were going to be living with Covid for some time, he said. And we do have to have a structure. The advice is non-essential travel is still out, its not recommended, but we have to have a structure in place for business travel, for necessary business travel. Asked whether the Government needed to also introduce coronavirus testing at airports, Mr Calleary said: Thats going to be looked at. He added: We cannot shut down the country. The July stimulus package, which is due to be published on Tuesday or Wednesday, is set to include a series of measures to boost the economy. It is expected to deliver extensions to the wage subsidy scheme and the waiver on commercial rates. Restart grants for business are likely to be offered, as are low interest loan options. We have to protect the economy, Mr Calleary said. We have to protect those that create jobs. And, yes, theres a lot of sectors taking a particular hit and I would hope to see them getting a focus in this stimulus package as well. But we have shown this week that we will make the hard decisions in relation to public health and that we will protect public health and public health will be at the heart of any decisions in the coming weeks. Responding to calls from school leaders for detail on the planned restart of classroom learning, Mr Calleary insisted huge work was ongoing. He said ensuring the safe reopening of schools in the autumn was the Governments number one priority. There were no new coronavirus-linked deaths reported in Ireland on Sunday, leaving the toll since the outbreak began standing at 1,753. The National Public Health Emergency Team did report 10 new confirmed cases of the virus, taking the total number of Covid-19 cases to 25,760. Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting chief medical officer, said: All it would take for Covid-19 to regain a foothold in our communities is complacency. As the pandemic accelerates around the world, we must remain vigilant here in Ireland. Every day, in our individual actions, we have the power to limit the spread of this virus. Our priority going forward has to be the reopening of schools and resumption of non-Covid-19 healthcare services and every time we stay two metres apart, wash our hands, practice good respiratory etiquette and wear a face covering, we are working towards those shared goals together. PA
Non-mandatory self-isolation for travellers is not working – health expert - Belfast Telegraph
Asking people travelling into Ireland from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days is “not working”, according to Professor Kingston Mills.
Asking people travelling into Ireland from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days is not working, according to Professor Kingston Mills. He is the professor of experimental immunology and head of the Centre for the Study of Immunology at Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute in Dublin. Any person travelling from abroad into Ireland is expected to self-quarantine or isolate for 14 days. That restriction was supposed to be lifted on Thursday of this week, but it is now expected to be extended until July 20 and then reviewed every two weeks thereafter. A green list of countries where it is safe to travel to and from without having to quarantine is not expected to be published until July 20. Prof Mills said Ireland has done well in suppressing the spread of coronavirus but allowing unrestricted travel into the country would unravel this. Were one of the countries with the lowest levels of the virus in Europe and were an island. We have a chance to do even better than we have done in terms of completely eliminating the virus and preventing any further surges of the virus, he told RTEs Morning Ireland. The idea of non-mandatory self isolation is not really working as I understand there are a significant amount of people not self-isolating or they are not being followed up. People are effectively ignoring the advice from Government not to travel because you only have to look at the number of flights going in and out of Dublin to see that. Close People arriving in Ireland are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days (Brian Lawless/PA) PA People arriving in Ireland are expected to self-quarantine for 14 days (Brian Lawless/PA) Prof Mills said there are some European countries that may be safe to travel in and out from but he noted there are cities in the US where there are high numbers of cases. Theres flights coming into Ireland from places like Chicago where they have a significant number of cases. If you have unrestricted flights coming in and people are not self isolating when they get here, then you are asking for trouble in terms of the virus re-surging. Restrictions on international travel expected to be extended when the Cabinet meets on Monday. Câmon everyone. Weâve come too far to go back. Great to see our economy reopened & social life resuming but letâs keep using our cop on & common sense. We owe it to each other, to those families who have lost loved ones, to the local business we want to keep open & to our kids https://t.co/zcoeWkETUg Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) July 5, 2020 Concerns over reported breaching of guidelines at some pubs in Dublin will also be voiced. One more person has died with Covid-19 in Ireland on Sunday. There has now been a total of 1,741 related deaths in the country, the National Public Health Emergency Team said. PA
Tit-for-tat fears following Warren Crossan 'revenge' killing by Dublin gang - Belfast Telegraph
Police are "ruling nothing out" over fears a criminal gang from the Republic travelled across the border to carry out the revenge murder of Warren Crossan in west Belfast on Saturday.
Police are "ruling nothing out" over fears a criminal gang from the Republic travelled across the border to carry out the revenge murder of Warren Crossan in west Belfast on Saturday.Detectives from the PSNI's Major Investigation Team yesterday confirmed the identity of the 28-year-old victim, who had been arrested and freed without charge in connection with the murder of notorious Dublin gangster Robbie Lawlor in April.Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney said that at around 12.50pm on Saturday police received reports of a shooting in the St Katharine's Road area of the city.Two masked gunmen fired a number of shots at Mr Crossan before the victim ran from his attackers as they chased him along the junction of Rodney Parade and St James' Road. The father-of-two was then followed into St Katharine's Road by his killers and shot dead. Mr Crossan's father Tommy Crossan (43) was murdered in west Belfast by dissident republicans in 2014. It is believed that Warren's killers carried out the attack in retribution for the execution of 36-year-old Dublin hitman Lawlor in Ardoyne two months ago. Lawlor was the main suspect in the brutal murder of Drogheda teenager Keane Mulready-Woods earlier this year. Mulready-Woods disappeared in January and his body was dismembered. Lawlor was widely reported to have been heavily involved in a feud between rival Drogheda-based factions. It is understood the father-of-three had travelled to Belfast with three Limerick criminals in the belief he was to collect a drugs debt before his death. Speaking yesterday, DCI McCartney refused to speculate on the reasons why Mr Crossan had been targeted but said that investigating officers will be using all of the information that is available. "Crimes of this nature happen through the whole of the world on a daily basis so we're working extremely hard on a daily basis to ensure the safety of people in Northern Ireland," he said. "It's an early stage of the investigation and I'm not speculating in relation to the motives behind Warren's murder at this time. However, I am ruling absolutely nothing out at this stage and we're also assessing all the information that's available to us." He did say that Mr Crossan - who was on bail accused of involvement in the importation of £180,000 of cocaine - was known to police and added that that would be used within the "strategy of the investigation". DCI McCartney said that there is "always" the opportunity for incidents to escalate if tit-for-tat killings were to happen following Mr Crossan's murder, but stressed that the PSNI was working hard to put a stop to any such scenario. Calling for the public to come forward with any information, DCI McCartney said that it is known that Mr Crossan left his home in Crumlin shortly before 11am in a dark metallic blue Skoda Octavia. He was then observed parking the vehicle at the family home in Rodney Parade around 12.40pm. "This is a callous and reckless killing. Bringing firearms out to residential streets of west Belfast in broad daylight just beggars belief," he said. "Grown men have not given any thought or any concern to the risk that was posed to members of the public going about their everyday business whilst walking and driving along the streets. One of these shots struck a vehicle belonging to a local resident. That just goes to show the callousness that these gunmen had. Whilst it's too early to speculate on the motive for the murder, links to an organised crime element have not been ruled out. "However, I must state that the investigation is at a very early stage. It will take its course and I will follow the evidence where it takes myself and my team in the coming days. "I would appeal to anyone who has any information or who seen Warren yesterday morning to bring that information forward to me on the police 101 number. "I would like to hear from anyone who saw the victim being chased through this area or prior to the shooting." Alliance MLA and Policing Board member John Blair said he expected the police investigation to be thorough. "In the context of the murder, which police described as 'brutal', we are reminded again that there is no excuse for guns on our streets," he added. "We all have a role to play in trying to stop these types of attacks from happening again and that's best done by anyone with information of any kind to forward that to the police or to Crimestoppers. "I hope, and I'm sure, the police will examine all background to this latest attack, and I hope they will be given the full support by the public in doing so."
Dr Tony Holohan: Compliance with face-covering guidance not good enough - Belfast Telegraph
Compliance with face-covering guidance is not good enough, Ireland’s chief medical officer said.
Compliance with face-covering guidance is not good enough, Irelands chief medical officer said. The protective materials should used on public transport and in shops, official advice urged. The next fortnight will be critical in limiting coronavirus transmission, an expert modelling its spread said. We would like to redouble our effortsDr Tony Holohan Dr Tony Holohan said: Compliance has not been maybe where we would like it to be. We would like to redouble our efforts. The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended the implementation of a national communications campaign to increase compliance with recommendations on use of face-coverings. Dr Holohan said: The campaign will outline best practice for use of face coverings in retail outlets, on public transport and in other public locations, where it may be difficult to maintain social distancing. On Thursday, NPHET announced a further eight deaths and eight cases of Covid-19. There have now been 1,703 fatalities. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dail the Government would launch the new public information campaign about the use of face coverings, but warned they were not a magic shield. Ireland must move from should do, to must do when it comes to the message, the World Health Organisations special envoy on Covid-19 has said. Dr David Nabarro said the effectiveness of face coverings in preventing spread of coronavirus is contested among the scientific community but they should be worn on public transport due to close contact between people. He said it was really necessary for those who worked in close proximity to others to wear the coverings. Close Health Minister Simon Harris said the clear public health advice was that they should be worn on public transport and in enclosed indoor spaces like shops (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA) PA Health Minister Simon Harris said the clear public health advice was that they should be worn on public transport and in enclosed indoor spaces like shops (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA) Health Minister Simon Harris said the clear public health advice was that they should be worn on public transport and in enclosed indoor spaces like shops. He added: This is about behavioural change and I accept that the evidence and maybe even the messaging on this has changed over time. Perhaps its been confusing for people and perhaps it hasnt gotten through in the clear way it needs to, so lets be very clear starting from today, face coverings are recommended. Professor Philip Nolan, chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said the reproductive number of the virus has remained stable, between 0.40.8 over a number of weeks. He said: The next two weeks are now critical in limiting transmission, keeping the r-number low and suppressing the virus. It is how we interact, as we go about our daily lives more freely, that will determine whether the R-number increases. He said the idea that coronavirus could be completely eliminated was absolutist. Elimination from the island is an attractive-sounding strategy but not really a practical or implementable solution, he added. PA
Ireland on track to move to phase two of exit plan next week – Holohan - Belfast Telegraph
Ireland remains on track to enter the second phase of its lockdown exit plan next week, the chief medical officer has said.
Ireland remains on track to enter the second phase of its lockdown exit plan next week, the chief medical officer has said. Dr Tony Holohan and his colleagues in the National Public Health Emergency Team will convene on Thursday to decide whether to recommend that Government proceeds with the next series of relaxations on Monday. Phase two would see some workplaces and small retail outlets reopen; the distance restriction on exercise extended from 5km to 20km; and people allowed to visit the homes of those cocooning, as long as PPE and social distancing are used. Up to four people would also be allowed visit other households while sports teams could resume non-contact training in small groups. Close (PA Graphics) Press Association Images (PA Graphics) Our planning assumption has been that well get there, Dr Holohan told the daily Covid-19 briefing. We dont know for certain, but as yet in terms of the detailed data theres nothing thats suggesting to us at this point in time that we wont be in a position to make that recommendation. But I think we need to allow the remaining days of the week to elapse. The week three in the three-week cycle is the important week, and were keeping a very close eye on the figures. Irelands coronavirus death toll rose to 1,659 on Wednesday after a further three fatalities were announced. There were 47 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing the total since the outbreak began to 25,111. In other developments on Wednesday, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe revealed that the national deficit was now running at 6.1 billion euros. Close Paschal Donohoe outlines the state of the national finances on Wednesday (Leon Farrell/PA) PA Paschal Donohoe outlines the state of the national finances on Wednesday (Leon Farrell/PA) That compares to a 63 million euro deficit recorded at the same time last year. The rise reflects the Governments significant expenditure on health and income supports during the pandemic. Total gross expenditure stood at 31.5 billion euros at the end of May, a rise of 5.5 billion euros (21%) on the same time last year. Overall, where we are at the moment is that the pandemic continues to have a very negative impact on the public finances, he said. Tax revenue in the first five months of the year was 21.7 billion euros. This was the same as last year, with an increase in corporation tax take balancing out the fall in other tax heads. Mr Donohoe said the financial picture reflected the extraordinary measures the Government had taken to support companies and workers. It is absolutely the right economic policy for the Government to run a deficit when the private sector has experienced a demand shock of this scale, he said. Close Members of the Irish Defence Forces at a Covid-19 testing facility at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA) PA Members of the Irish Defence Forces at a Covid-19 testing facility at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA) Earlier, Defence Minister Paul Kehoe revealed that more than 10 million euros had been spent to help the Defence Forces during the outbreak. Mr Kehoe said the expenditure included additional medical, engineering and transport costs spent throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The Defence Forces has been helping across various areas including testing and contact tracing as well as collecting personal protective equipment. Mr Kehoe also said there has been a delay in the recruitment of Defence Forces members because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But he said there has been an increased interest in joining the Defence Forces, with applications above anticipated figures for this point in the year. Also on Wednesday, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said more than 1,000 Irish citizens remain stranded overseas wanting to return home. He said his department had helped more than 6,000 citizens to return to Ireland from 126 countries since the outbreak began. Mr Coveney said many of those who remain stranded are in countries with tight restrictions on travel. PA
Coronavirus: We must let rate of infection stabilise, says Michelle O'Neill - Belfast Telegraph
Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill believes there is a "danger" in analysing Northern Ireland's R rate every day as the figure needs time to stabilise.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill believes there is a "danger" in analysing Northern Ireland's R rate every day as the figure needs time to stabilise. The R rate - Covid-19's infection gauge - currently stands at 0.9 here. It must remain below one to avoid exponential growth in cases. The easing of the lockdown regulations is dependent on the R rate and Ms O'Neill said she was "a bit disappointed" after learning the R value stood at 0.9 on Friday. Speaking during yesterday's Covid-19 daily briefing alongside First Minister Arlene Foster, Sinn Fein's northern leader hopes an update on the R rate can be provided on Thursday. "I was a bit disappointed where our R rate was sitting and I know it takes a bit of time," Ms O'Neill said. "There's a danger in analysing it every day because you have to give it time to stabilise and be steady for a number of days. "We hope to be in the position to have an analysis of all of that for Thursday's Executive meeting and we will be able to say more about it then. "Certainly, I think a lot of people were surprised that we were sitting at 0.8/0.9 at the end of last week, but we will be able to say more about that later in the week." Despite a drop in the number of positive coronavirus tests, hospital admissions and Covid-19 related deaths, Mrs Foster said the R rate is based on where the virus is in the community. She stressed, however, that the more relaxations that are put forward, the more the virus can spread. "We have to assess those relaxations [that were announced] on May 15, which came into place on May 18, and what impact that they have had on the transmission of the virus - because if you're infected with Covid-19, you won't be going into hospital until about 10 days after that," Mrs Foster added. "The number of general hospital admissions, certainly last Thursday, had increased slightly. "We have to take all of that into consideration when we look at the overall picture and we need to be able to move forward on a step by step basis." Mrs Foster also said that the Executive wants Northern Ireland to return to normality as quickly as possible. "We do, of course, want to make sure that people aren't inconvenienced and that these restrictions aren't in place any longer than they need to be," she stated. "We have to take into consideration where the virus is at after relaxations. "We need to pause for a while, see where it's at after that relaxation and then if things are still below one then we can make the next step forward. "That's why it is a phased return and that's why we're moving in the fashion that we are." The First Minister also said if the rate of transmission continues to fall, they will consider easing further restrictions. The R rate in the Republic of Ireland is around 0.5-0.7. Belfast Telegraph