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Health News

Irish government COVID-19 scare ends as minister tests negative

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish government ministers dropped plans to restrict their movements on Tuesday evening after health minister Stephen Donnelly tested negative for COVID-19, a government spokeswoman said.

The lower house of parliament had been suspended earlier on Tuesday when the speaker heard the Cabinet was self-isolating after Donnelly was advised by his doctor to take a test. The prime minister later intervened to reopen parliament.

The news came hours after Donnelly helped to unveil a new five-level system of COVID-19 restrictions under which the reopening of bars in Dublin and the relaxing of international travel restrictions were delayed due to a rise in cases.

Ireland reported 357 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest daily figure since mid-May, and up from an average of 203 cases per day over the previous seven days.

A total of 1,787 people have died of COVID-19 in Ireland since the start of the pandemic.

The country had some of the strictest lockdown measures in Europe. Its EU Commissioner, Phil Hogan, was forced to quit over allegations he breached COVID-19 guidelines, including attending a dinner organised by parliament’s golf society. The agriculture minister also resigned after attending the event.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Rosalba O’Brien

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