Video: Hospitality supports, Nphet meeting and teacher shortages

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Hospitality supports

As the Covid-19 situation worsens, Ministers will consider retaining higher levels of financial supports for businesses at a special meeting today.

The Cabinet subcommittee on economics will receive an update on financial supports as Covid cases surge and hospitality faces new restrictions, including the new midnight closing time for pubs and restaurants.

Industry sources have reported that restaurants, hotels and pubs have been hit by a huge number of cancelled Christmas parties.

Nphet meets

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has said the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will give "difficult advice" if Covid-19 figures do not improve.

Dr Holohan warned that the Government cannot make people observe restrictions. He said it is up to the public to make changes, which will bring about a reduction in transmission of Covid.

It comes as Covid hospitalisations in Ireland have hit the highest level seen in almost nine months, with 684 patients in hospital as of this morning.

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Intensive care consultant Dr Andrew Westbrook has described the cancellation of a transplant operation at the Mater Hospital last week as “symptomatic” of the crisis caused by a lack of ICU beds.

Teacher shortages

The general secretary of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) has claimed that schools have been abandoned by public health.

John Boyle said that 605 primary school teachers had tested positive for Covid-19 over the past two weeks, which was leading to a shortage of teachers and meant that children were missing school.

Separately, a primary school principal described "patching holes to keep the schools afloat" and said he dreads the phone ringing in case it leads to a futile search for a substitute teacher.

Amid high rates of Covid-19 amongst school-going children, the Covid adviser to the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) Dr Mary Favier warned that people can be “falsely reassured” by negative antigen test results.

Dr Favier expressed concern that parents were using tests for reassurance on children who had symptoms and then sending them to school. Any child with symptoms should stay at home, she said.

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