Video: Reopening plans, vaccine delays, warm weather weekend

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Kenneth Fox

Cyberattack aftermath

The effects of the HSE cyberattack are being acutely felt by hospitals and GP practices due to disruption to services but so far there is no evidence of the data leak threatened by hackers after Monday's deadline passed.

The criminal gang behind the hack, believed to be a Russian-based group known as 'Wizard Spider', had threatened to release patient data if a ransom of €16.4 million was not paid, something which the Government has insisted will not happen.

However, despite widespread reports of fraudulent texts and calls, gardaí have said there is still no evidence of a data leak.

Dr Paolo Palmieri, a cyber security lecturer at University College Cork, told breakingnews.ie that it may be days or weeks before individuals are targeted, warning that fraudulent schemes and identity theft could occur if the information is sold on the dark web.

TV doctor ordered to pay damages

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TV presenter Dr Christian Jessen has been ordered to pay damages of £125,000 (€145,000) to Arlene Foster for posting an “outrageous” defamatory tweet which made unfounded claims that the First Minister of Northern Ireland was having an extramarital affair.

Delivering judgment in the case at the High Court in Belfast, Mr Justice McAlinden accepted that the false tweet by the celebrity doctor had cut Mrs Foster “to the core”.

Mrs Foster sued the celebrity medic, best known for appearing in the Channel 4 show Embarrassing Bodies, for defamation for the tweet he posted on December 23rd, 2019, making the false allegation of an affair to his 300,000-plus followers.

Reopening plans

The Cabinet Covid-19 sub-committee will meet on Thursday to consider easing public health restrictions further from next month.

The committee will look at the latest advice from National Public Health Emergency Team before a full Cabinet meeting signs off on a decision on Friday.

It comes amid growing pressure from TDs within Government parties, who, according to The Irish Examiner, have been critical of new regulations for the hospitality sector and are pushing for a faster easing of restrictions.

Members of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have hit out at the slow reopening of international travel and vented anger at new guidelines for pubs and restaurants.

Warm weather

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Warm weather is forecast this weekend with temperatures potentially reaching 21 degrees on Sunday.

However, there will be a varying amount of cloud and some drizzle at times over the next few days, Met Éireann said.

Hazy sunny spells will continue in many areas on Thursday morning before cloudy skies and outbreaks of rain move in from the southwest and become widespread.

Vaccine delays

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has warned difficulties in the supply of Covid-19 vaccines could put in jeopardy the Government’s pledge that 82 per cent of the adult population will have received or been offered a first dose by the end of June.

Mr Donnelly said that, to date, more than 2.5 million doses of vaccine have been administered and take-up is going from “strength to strength”.

But he warned that it was “unclear” whether the Government will be able to reach its target by the end of June, due to supply issues.

Mr Donnelly told the Daíl on Thursday morning there were “serious concerns” over the supply of the Janssen vaccine in the coming weeks.

50% of adults receive first dose

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said 50 per cent of all eligible adults will have received their first dose of vaccine by next week, as he made the strongest defence to date of his Government’s strategy on Covid-19.

According to The Irish Times, Mr Martin struck a markedly defiant note against critics of the Coalition’s record during the pandemic, including internal critics within his own party.

Addressing Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators on Wednesday night, he said the plan to reopen society and the economy was working, people were getting vaccinated and the mood of the people was now “extraordinarily positive”.

“When the history is written and there is full evaluation it will show how this Government responded in protecting lives and supporting society in this difficult period,” he told colleagues.

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