No further deaths and eighty three new cases have been reported leading to a total of 2,146 deaths and 120,501 cases since the start of the pandemic. 83 individuals have tested positive out of 1,567 tested in the last 24 hours. Two people have died in the past seven days, down from eight in the week before.

632 persons have tested positive in the last seven days, down from 666 in the week before. There are 62 Covid patients in hospital with seven in intensive care with a bed occupancy at 100 per cent. There are five active outbreaks in care homes. 

Non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality have re-opened but social distancing, facial covering and hand washing are still strongly advised and, unfortunately for those in hospitality trade, the weather has not co-operated.

As of 30 April 935,589 have received one dose of the vaccine (49.6 per cent) and 422,234 (22.4 per cent) are fully vaccinated. A trial is underway to see which is the best combination of vaccines.

On 01 May a bar in Fintona, County Tyrone,  was fined £1000 for breaching Covid rules when police broke up a crowd of 150 people! Messages are not getting through. 

There are concerns about Donegal but it could be, and is being, argued that rates in Donegal have come down a lot since Christmas (2000 per 100,000) with only 92 cases in the last two weeks.

The Chief Medical Officer feels there has been poor compliance. There do not seem to have been many deaths recently and the severity of the cases would have to be considered before moving to level 5.

The crowd in the Fintona bar indicates how public health measures can be flouted but it is hoped that outdoor hospitality with natural air conditioning, particularly in those who are fully vaccinated, will not increase the spread of the infection. Consideration is being given now to vaccinating younger age groups.  The plan in the North allows sufficient time to assess the effect of outdoor hospitality before moving on to the next step of the pathways out of lockdown.

Overseas things have not improved much. In India, where a lockdown is being called for, cases have surged past 20 million cases with 3.45m active cases.  357,229 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours with deaths rising 3,449 deaths to a toll of 222,408 deaths which may be five to ten times higher in reality.

The government are reluctant to impose a lockdown due to economic concerns — sounds familiar? Several states have imposed social restrictions. The surge of cases of the highly infectious variant(s) has overrun the health service, reducing oxygen supplies and has seen many dying in ambulances and in car parks outside of hospitals.

Despite being the world’s biggest producer of vaccines, India does not have enough vaccine for itself. 800 million are eligible for vaccines but just 9.5 per cent of the population of 1.35 billion have received  at least a single dose.

Problems continue in Brazil where experience with other vaccine programmes is being used to deliver Covid vaccine to remote areas. Brazil has 1,076,873 active cases and 406,437 deaths, a case fatality rate of 2.76 per cent. In the Philipines where there are 8,000 cases per day and not much vaccine the total cases are now 1.06m with 17,525 deaths.

At home the vaccine rollout is said to have improved the consumer mood with some planning to splash out on big items. Just under a half in a survey responded that the vaccination programme was having a positive effect on their confidence levels with 414,548 having had both doses. 15 per cent viewed Covid restrictions as being positive whilst 20 per cent felt them to have had a negative impact. The continued successful rollout of the vaccine was felt to be a main driver in the rise of consumer confidence manifested in the queues outside Primark in Belfast and Derry.

As we head towards the opening of indoor hospitality and the prospect of overseas holidays we can envisage the virus being controlled in Ireland but many countries need to make more progress if we are to be safe from this world wide virus.