Video: Change to isolating rules for children, house prices rise, pandemic bonus

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Covid: Close contact rules change for children

From today, those under 12 don’t have to restrict their movements if they’re an asymptomatic close contact of someone with covid in school.

Niamh O’Beirne from the HSE says they'll track how this progresses this week.

There’s been a significant drop in people presenting for covid testing since new rules for under 12s were announced.

The HSE says it decreased by an average of 20 per cent over the weekend.

Rise in property prices

The race for remote working space and the urban flight from cities is driving a huge rise in property prices outside major cities, a survey has found.

Average house prices have risen by €3,500 per month since the end of June, with selling prices in commuter areas and small towns increasing by more than double the growth experienced in major cities.

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A massive demand for properties outside the capital has seen unexpected quarterly rises in towns such as Nenagh, Co Tipperary, where scarcity of supply and bidding wars meant three-bed semis have sold at 23 per cent above their recent value – an increase of €45,000.

The REA Average House Price Survey concentrates on the actual sale price of Ireland’s typical stock home, the three-bed semi, giving a picture of the second-hand property market in towns and cities countrywide.

Pandemic bonus

A Government TD has said that any pandemic bonus should be extended beyond healthcare staff and be also given to the gardaí.

Speaking on Newstalk on Monday, Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd said a pandemic bonus should be given to gardaí, ambulance staff and healthcare assistants in nursing homes.

“There is a huge number of people who gave their all and put themselves at huge risk to help us get through the pandemic,” Mr O'Dowd told Newstalk.

This follows warnings from Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath that the cost of extra pay or leave across the public sector as a reward for service during the pandemic could top €1 billion.

The Government is currently working on plans to reward those who worked on the frontline during the pandemic.

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The plans are likely to include an extra bank holiday and could also involve extra pay or holidays for some workers.

Emergency department at Cork hospital 'exceptionally busy'

For a second consecutive day, Cork University Hospital (CUH) is warning people of delays at its emergency department (ED) following a surge in presentations.

The hospital has urged the public to contact their GP before attending the hospital’s ED, according to the Irish Examiner.

In statements issued last night and this morning, the hospital has said it is “exceptionally busy” at present, and patients are likely to experience long waiting times as a result.

According to the latest figures from Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), there were 426 patients without beds at Irish hospitals this morning - 331 at emergency departments and 95 on other hospital wards.

CUH recorded the highest number of patients on trolleys with 61, all of whom were waiting at the emergency department.

University Hospital, Limerick had 58 patients without beds this morning - 33 in the emergency department and 28 elsewhere in the hospital.

Vaccine hesitancy

New research for the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association has shown vaccine hesitancy among those ages 18-24 is at 13 per cent.

This is significantly higher than vaccine hesitancy among the overall population which stands at nine per cent.

A spokesperson for the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association, Bernard Mallee, has said engaging with young people about the vaccine is crucial.

“We have clear evidence now of real-time effectiveness of vaccination for Covid-19,” Mr Mallee told Newstalk.

“I think strong public health messaging and safety, whether during the trials or in the community is really helping to build public confidence.”

Plan to tackle housing crisis described as ‘unrealistic’

Part of the Government’s plan to tackle the country’s chronic housing crisis has been criticised as “unrealistic” and “more of the same”.

Earlier this month, the Government unveiled its plans to spend four billion euro annually on building 33,000 new homes every year by the end of the decade.

The Housing For All plan has committed to building an average of 9,500 social homes every year and to eradicate homelessness by 2030.

Discussing the plan at a Simon Communities conference, housing experts criticised the focus on supply issues rather than affordability.

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