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1,914 new cases as Glynn warns of ‘deteriorating picture’

Voice Of EU



A further 1,914 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the State on Friday.

A total of 413 patients are hospitalised with the virus, of whom 73 are in ICU.

Earlier, deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn asked members of the public to work from home “where possible” this autumn and winter as he warned of a “deteriorating picture” in the battle against Covid-19 in Ireland.

Case numbers are surging and the average age of those infected is rising sharply. “Let’s work from home where possible this autumn and winter,” he said.

“Unfortunately, over the past 10 days we have seen a deteriorating picture with increasing incidents across most counties across the country, and our national incidences are now about 400 per 100,000 population.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing increased incidences across most age groups, including older age groups, and the median age of cases has increased from the mid-20s to now being 36 years of age.”

Dr Glynn said the shifting trends are having an impact on the health service with hospital admissions rising to between 40 and 50 a day on average, and admissions to intensive care averaging at around five a day.

While the vaccination programme has been “fantastic” and is protecting over 90 per cent of the population “the reality unfortunately is that 370,000 adults in this country have either not come forward at all for vaccination to date or have come forward for just the first of a two-dose schedule.”

This leaves them “as vulnerable to Covid now as they have been at any point in the pandemic to date” and their decision is having “a disproportionate impact on them personally, but it is also impacting disproportionately on admissions to hospital and admissions to intensive care.”

Vaccines are highly effective against severe disease and hospitalisation but “if enough disease is circulating in our communities, a proportion of vaccinated people will get sick with Covid, will end up in hospital and will end up in intensive care,” he added.

Dr Glynn also urged those who are vaccinated not to ignore other basic public health measures such as hand washing, not meeting up with others if symptomatic, and continuing to work from home where possible.

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 should get tested and isolate, he said.

As society reopens, people are mixing and interacting with others “on a scale far greater than at any point in the pandemic to date” which is giving viruses — not just Covid-19 — an opportunity to circulate and “make vulnerable people very unwell.”

Northern Ireland

A further four people with Covid-19 have died in Northern Ireland, the North’s Department of Health reported on Friday. A total of 1,349 new cases of the virus were confirmed.

In the North’s hospitals 348 patients with Covid-19 are receiving treatment, with 37 in intensive care.

According to separate data released on Friday by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) there were 30 deaths involving Covid-19 on the week to October 8th.

Nisra recorded the total number of deaths related to Covid-19 until October 8th as 3,512, compared to 2,585 reported by the department.

The Nisra figure is always higher than the department’s as it is drawn from different sources.

The department’s count is based on patients, primarily in hospitals, who have tested positive for Covid-19, whereas the Nisra data is based on information entered on death certificates completed by medical professionals.

In this case the individual may or may not have tested positive for Covid-19, so the figures can include both confirmed and suspected cases, and Covid-19 may not have been the main cause of death.

Separate Nisra analysis based on the date of death registration showed that Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate of 28 deaths in the week ending October 8th, a decrease of 20 compared with the previous week.

This weekly total is similar to that last observed at the start of August, Nisra said.

Meanwhile, an additional £5.5 million is to be allocated to GPs in Northern Ireland to support them over the winter.

The North’s Department of Health has earmarked an additional £3.8 million to support additional patient care during the winter, and up to £1.7 million to further improve telephony infrastructure and accessibility, such as the use of online systems for ordering repeat prescriptions in order to free up telephone lines and staff time.

The department said this was in addition to the £1.7 million already invested to upgrade GP telephony systems to improve telephone access.

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Census 2022 – what difference does it make?

Voice Of EU



Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.

But what it is it all about?

At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.

The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.

Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.

Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.

And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.

In this episode of In The News, the head of census administration Eileen Murphy and statistician Kevin Cunningham about what it all means for us.

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Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture

Voice Of EU



Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.

At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.

During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.

When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”

He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”

“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.

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House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022

Voice Of EU



House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.

Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.

The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites and, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.

Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.


This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.

MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.

It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.

“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.

“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.


“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.

“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.

He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.


Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.

Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.

“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”

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