Coronavirus live news: Ireland to reopen schools; France investigates cruise ship deaths

Ireland extends other restrictions to April to prevent explosion in cases; three passengers died after outbreak on cruise in March 2020

7.08pm GMT

France reported another 20,064 confirmed Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, up not only from Monday’s traditionally low figure of 4,646 but also from the previous Tuesday’s 19,590, in the latest sign that the disease is spreading again. The total cumulative number of cases rose to 3.63 million, the sixth highest in the world.

The number of people treated in intensive care units also increased for the third day running, standing at 3,435, the highest since 2 December.

6.58pm GMT

As expected (see 3.19pm), the Netherlands has slightly eased its Covid restrictions, allowing schools and hairdressers to reopen, as the government seeks to relax months of lockdown even as infection rates rise again.

A controversial night-time curfew, which sparked a string of riots when it was introduced on 23 January, would remain in place until at least 15 March, prime minister Mark Rutte said, after the government circumvented a court ruling to drop it due to a lack of legal basis, Reuters reports.

We are doing something quite unnerving. Easing of measures is not without costs and it certainly is not irreversible. If infections rapidly rise again, all options for restrictions will be on the table again.

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