Video: Local lockdowns possible, weather warning in place, asymptomatic testing

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Kenneth Fox

New university

A new technological university has been announced for the north-west of the country.

The university will be the fourth of its kind in Ireland and follows an application from Galway-Mayo, Sligo and Letterkenny ITs.

The Minister for Higher Education said the new technological university will increase access to college, lead to enhanced regional development and boost local opportunities.

Simon Harris also confirmed that a decision on a university for the south-east, bringing together Waterford and Carlow ITs, will be made in the coming days.

Binge-drinking

A new study of alcohol use patterns by GAA intercounty players has revealed “adverse alcohol use”.

Dr Kieran Murray, rheumatologist and lead author of the study told Newstalk Breakfast that the GAA should consider a ban on sponsorship by alcoholic drink brands as they had done with gambling.

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The study involved 700 intercounty gaelic football, hurling and camogie players and indicated that three-quarters who were regular drinkers, showed signs of “adverse alcohol use” and two-thirds had experienced alcohol-related harm within the previous 12 months.

Increased cases

Ireland may need local lockdowns if Covid cases continue to increase rapidly, according to the World Health Organisation.

The country's seven-day moving average is over 2,000 cases, compared to just over 1,100 three weeks ago.

There were 470 Covid patients in public hospitals last night, up from 291 a month ago.

Dr David Nabarro, the WHO's special envoy on Covid, says local restrictions could be needed if the trend continues - but not a national lockdown.

Motorist warning

A status orange warning for rain in parts of the south-east has been extended until midday.

Met Éireann says additional accumulations can be expected in Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow, with flooding in places.

A yellow alert for Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny and Cork has also been extended until midday.

Accumulations of rain overnight have led to hazardous driving conditions.

The Road Safety Authority has issued a warning for motorists.

Asymptomatic testing

From today, the HSE will begin registering fully vaccinated, asymptomatic close contacts for antigen tests.

All close contacts will get a text message which states that if not fully vaccinated and/or symptomatic they will be referred for a PCR test and if fully vaccinated and asymptomatic they will be sent antigen tests to do at home.

The text message will be followed up by a call from the contact tracers who will go through their vaccination history, symptoms and do the referral as appropriate for either PCR or antigen testing.

Lonely Planet ranking

Dublin has been named the seventh-best city in the world to visit in 2022 by Lonely Planet.

The travel group will unveil the accolade today in the prestigious Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2022.

With 2022 marking 100 years since the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2022 "will encourage visitors to follow in the footsteps of Leopold Bloom, with a stroll around the city to see its architectural and cultural delights".

Labour shortages

The Minister of State for Employment, Damien English has announced changes to the employment permits system for workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA),

It follows a comprehensive review by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Many of the changes surround the recent labour shortages across multiple industries.

Some of the main changes include: most construction sector jobs now eligible for a general employment permit, 350 general employment permits for hospitality managers and social workers being eligible for a critical skills employment permit.

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