Donegal test centre
A walk-in Covid-19 test centre has opened in the town of Milford in Co Donegal today amid ongoing concern about the high number of infections in the county.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly tweeted on Tuesday morning that the test centre would open at Milford Mart for three days from Wednesday while the centre in Letterkenny would remain open. He added that additional facilities would be announced as part of the “enhanced response” to Covid-19.
There are currently three walk-in testing centres operating in Co Cork, two in Dublin and others in counties Kerry, Kildare, Offaly, Roscommon, Tipperary, Waterford and Westmeath.
Consideration is being given to running Covid-19 mass vaccination centres on a 24-hour basis.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) asked the health service to consider the move, as a possible measure to scale up the rollout of the programme.
In response, the HSE said that the only restrictions on the rollout are vaccine supply and people not presenting for vaccination. It said it would extend the rollout as needed to match deliveries.
Ireland's hotel quarantine system
The French embassy in Dublin is receiving “desperate” calls in relation to Ireland’s hotel quarantine system, according to the French Ambassador to Ireland.
Vincent Guérand said he believed the mandatory hotel quarantine system was too restrictive and said that the mechanism for exceptions and appeals was “insufficient.”
“We believe mandatory hotel quarantine prevents almost all travelling,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
Over the last three weeks the French embassy in Dublin had received a large number of “desperate” calls from the French community, of which there were 25,000 to 30,000 members in Ireland, he said.
New minimum pricing for alcohol
It is “not OK and not healthy” that some supermarkets are currently selling alcohol “cheaper than they are selling water”, according to the Minister for Health.
Stephen Donnelly insisted minimum unit pricing for alcohol is being introduced “because there is powerful evidence this works”.
Speaking at the official launch of the policy in Dublin, Mr Donnelly said there is alcohol-related mortality of more than 1,000 people a year, while international analysis estimated there were 2,700 deaths attributable to alcohol in Ireland in 2016.
He said the number of hospitalisations wholly attributable to alcohol doubled between 1995 and 2018.
Younger people in nursing homes
Younger people are living “wasted lives” in nursing homes due to a lack of State support, according to an investigation by the Ombudsman.
In his report "Wasted Lives: Time for a better future for younger people in nursing homes” published today, Peter Tyndall said “systemic issues” and a “fractured funding model” had left hundreds of people confined to the homes, often against their wishes.
There are more than 1,300 people under the age of 65 living in nursing homes in Ireland, according to the HSE.
The Ombudsman investigation into the placement of younger people in nursing homes was launched following several complaints. Mr Tyndall carried out 28 visits with people directly affected and spoke with representative groups.