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COVID SPIKE Record high 1,012 daily Covid-19 cases and three new deaths confirmed

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Gardaí intevene as protesters from rival groups come to blows

Gardaí intevene as protesters from rival groups come to blows

Gardaí intevene as protesters from rival groups come to blows

THE number of daily cases of coronavirus yesterday spiked to 1,012 - the highest daily total since the pandemic began this year.

Three people are reported to have died as medical chiefs begged people to keep their distance from each other in a bid to slow down the spread of the virus.

The announcement by the Department of Health yesterday means there have been 4,050 cases in the past week as Level 3 restrictions hit nationwide.

Despite the advice and escalating number of cases, rival protest groups clashed in Dublin city centre and two arrests were made.

Speaking last night Dr Tony Holohan said: "I am very worried about the numbers we are seeing an how quickly they are deteriorating. All of today's 1,012 cases were notified to the HPSC over a period of 24 hours up to midnight.

"The 14-day incidence rate has increased from 108 per 100,000 last Sunday to 150 per 100,000 today, which represents a 39 per cent increase," he said last night, adding that all signs indicate that the epidemic is getting worse.

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Anti Mask demonstrators violently protest against National Party members outside the Dail on Kildare Street.

Anti Mask demonstrators violently protest against National Party members outside the Dail on Kildare Street.

Anti Mask demonstrators violently protest against National Party members outside the Dail on Kildare Street.

"For example, there has been a consistent increase in test positivity over the past week. The test positivity rate up to midnight Friday, October 9, was 6.2 per cent, which has more than doubled in less than a fortnight," he said.

"Case numbers are growing across all age groups and throughout the country."

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, added in the previous 24 hours, there were 35 new admissions to hospital and four in intensive care.

"There are now 199 people in hospital and 31 in ICU. Every age group, location and household needs to act now, limit your contacts and stop the disease in its tracks."

It emerged there were 241 cases in Dublin, 112 in Cork, 80 in Cavan, 72 in Meath, 66 in Galway, and the other 441 cases are spread across 21 other counties. Of the notified cases 511 are men, 496 are women, 71 per cent are under 45 years of age and the median age is 30 years old.

Despite people being urged to stay at home baton-wielding gardaí had to battle to keep two rival groups of protesters away from each other during a tense stand-off outside the Dáil yesterday afternoon.

One man was arrested as a counter-demonstrators tried to rush through crowd barriers to confront National Party supporters protesting against Covid-19 restrictions.

About 100 people had gathered on Kildare Street to hear a speech by Justin Barrett of the far-right National Party. Across the street a larger and louder crowd had gathered outside the Molesworth Hotel to voice their opposition.

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Anti Mask demonstrators protest outside the Dail

Anti Mask demonstrators protest outside the Dail

Anti Mask demonstrators protest outside the Dail

Mask-wearing protesters at one point demanded identification from journalists approaching their demonstration. Shouting "Paedo scum off our streets", they also pushed against Garda lines separating them from those gathered at the gates of the Dail.

"Micheál Martin is not the leader of this country," he said to cheers. "He is a land agent for absentee landlords who used to live in London but now reside in New York and Brussels."

While some of those who had gathered to listen to him wore masks the majority did not.

Gardaí formed two lines to keep both sets of protesters away from each other.

Some of those who had gathered to listen to Mr Barrett accused the other side of intimidation after an earlier incident when counter-demonstrators tried to rush through crowd barriers to confront them.

As gardaí at the scene intervened to keep the two sides apart, missiles and crowd barriers were thrown and fireworks exploded.

"You can see that we are gathered here peacefully while they are causing violence," said one man who was seen to hold a banner that read: 'Let Ireland Live'.

Gardaí said one man, in his 30s had been detained over a public order offence and was being held in Pearse Street Garda Station.

Under Level 3 lockdown restrictions, it is a criminal offence to hold an outdoor event with more than 15 people - making this the second time that these groups have broken those rules.

Speaking yesterday, a Garda spokeswoman said: "One man in his 30s has been arrested for Public Order offence and is currently in Pearse Street Garda Station."

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National Party protestors jeer Anti Mask Protestors outside the Dail

National Party protestors jeer Anti Mask Protestors outside the Dail

National Party protestors jeer Anti Mask Protestors outside the Dail