Nine more people have died from Covid-19 in Ireland, bringing the overall death toll to 1,615.

There have been 37 more cases of the coronavirus have also been diagnosed in the Republic, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 24,735.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said the response of the State to Covid-19 has been "significant".

Speaking at the daily press briefing at the Department of Health he said it was "a very early response in comparison to other countries".

In response to statements made by Tadhg Daly of Nursing Homes Ireland during today's Oireachtas Committee meetings on the Covid-19 response, Dr Holohan said "there is simply no way of protecting nursing homes or any other institutional setting if [we] don't control the spread of this infection in the community in general".

He said measures were brought in, in relation to nursing homes, more quickly and at earlier points relative to the track of the disease in this country compared to other countries.

The latest figures on the number of deaths from Covid-19 in nursing homes is 884. It represents around 54% of all deaths from the virus.

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer of the HSE, said much has been learned over the past few months about this virus, its behaviour and how it presents - including in older people.

He said they have learned about atypical presentations in older people and how about how one third display those typical features of cough, fever or shortness of breath but in other cases, in those with mobility issues, there may be very subtle signs or an absence of symptoms.

He said this information has informed their testing and led to the blanket testing of all nursing home settings and all staff in nursing homes.

In Northern Ireland, no coronavirus-related deaths have been reported during the past 24 hours.

It is the first day since 18 March that no deaths have been reported by the Department of Health.

28 new cases of Covid-19 have been diagnosed, taking the total number of cases in the region to 4,637.

However, Northern Ireland's Health Minister Robin Swann has warned of catastrophic consequences if people start to believe that the battle against Covid-19 has been won and become complacent.

Around 80% of cases of Covid-19 will be a mild to moderate illness, close to 14% have severe disease and around 6% are critical.

Generally, you need to be 15 minutes or more in the vicinity of an infected person and within two metres of them, to be considered at-risk, or a close contact.


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The latest figures come as the Health Information and Quality Authority has said regulations in terms of staffing in nursing homes are weak.

Its Chief Inspector Mary Dunnion told the Oireachtas Committee on Covid-19 that staffing levels are determined by the legal entity which is the provider of a nursing home whether private or statutory.

Responding to the Green Party TD Patrick Costello, she said it was not true of Nursing Homes Ireland CEO Tadhg Daly to say this morning that HIQA does not allow ratio staffing which is the number of staff to the number of patients.

Ms Dunnion said HIQA would be happy to contribute to a discussion on staff regulations in nursing homes.

Elsewhere, more than 17,000 Leaving Certificate students have registered their details in an online registration system for this year's calculated grades.

Registration opened at 10am this morning and will remain open until 10pm on Thursday. 

All of the country's 61,000 Leaving Certificate students are required to register via this new online portal established by a special unit within the Department of Education.

Students need the exam number already given to them as well as their PPS number and contact details.

Voluntary redundancies and career breaks planned at daa

The daa, which manages Dublin and Cork Airports, has revealed plans for voluntary severance, career breaks and work practice reforms in a bid to address the collapse in passenger numbers and revenue due to the Covid-19 virus. 

In a bulletin to staff, Chief Executive Dalton Philips said the company has no option but to make very significant cost savings in every area of the business - by cutting all non-pay costs, reviewing capital spending, introducing new ways of working and "re-sizing" the company to bring it more in line with lower expected passenger traffic in the medium term.  

He told staff that depending on their length of service, they may be eligible for three options: voluntary severance, a career break, or reduced hours working - but cautions that all options are subject to sanction by the Department of Tourism Transport and Sport.