Video: Lifting of final restrictions, Irish in Afghanistan latest and mortgage approvals

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Lifting of final restrictions

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has declined to fully back a suggestion that the vast majority of Irish people aged 16 and over need to be vaccinated before a significant easing of coronavirus restrictions can take place.

It has been reported that the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has recommended 90 per cent of over-16s should be fully vaccinated before a significant easing of restrictions can take place.

The Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 will meet today to finalise the details of a roadmap to end restrictions, which is due to be published on Tuesday.

One item on the agenda for the reopening of the entertainment and live events sector may be Electric Picnic. Ministers are believed to be considering designating the festival as a pilot event, and only allowing vaccinated people attend.

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Current reopening discussions are political, public health expert Professor Anthony Staines has said, warning that Covid-19 cases could get out of hand if the easing of restrictions goes ahead too quickly.

Covid and vaccines latest

The HSE is extending walk-in Covid-19 vaccination centres for children aged 12 to 15. Parents and legal guardians can bring their children aged 12 and over to their local walk-in clinic this weekend to get an mRNA vaccine.

It comes after a further 1,866 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the Republic on Thursday, with chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan saying the number of those receiving care in ICU was at its highest since April.

University Hospital Galway is encouraging people to get vaccinated as it deals with a high number of Covid-19 patients. Saolta chief clinical director Pat Nash says the Delta variant is causing a spike in cases in University Hospital Galway and others in the west.

Irish in Afghanistan

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that the opportunity to get Irish citizens out of Kabul has effectively closed now as the airport there was in the process of shutting down.

Mr Coveney also defended the rescue plan implemented this week by the team of Irish army rangers and two diplomats, who flew into Kabul for 48 hours to coordinate the extraction of Irish citizens and their dependents, rescuing 26.

The Department of Defence has said it is now aware of 75 more Irish citizens or residents requiring support, with the number remaining “fluid”.

Meanwhile, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has said he is seeking urgent clarification from the UK government about people from Northern Ireland who remain in Afghanistan.

Mortgage approvals

A total of 5,033 mortgages, worth €1.3 billion, were approved in July according to the latest figures from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

Over half of these mortgages were first-time buyers (55 per cent) with 2,766 approved.

Mover purchasers accounted for 1,272 (25.3 per cent). The number of mortgages approved fell by 3.3 per cent month-on-month and rose by 48.2 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Louth collision

Gardaí are appealing for witnesses following a fatal single vehicle collision in Drogheda, Co Louth on Thursday.

The collision occurred on Carstown Road, Drogheda shortly before 11pm when a car left the road and struck a tree. The driver and sole occupant of the car, a 29-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The scene was examined by Forensic Collision Investigators and the local coroner has been notified.

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