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Coronavirus: 54 new cases confirmed in Ireland bringing total number to 223

The Department of Health confirmed the figures this evening.

Dr CIllian De Gascun at Department of Health briefing on Saturday.
Dr CIllian De Gascun at Department of Health briefing on Saturday.
Image: Sam Boal

Updated Mar 16th 2020, 9:53 PM

THE NATIONAL PUBLIC Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has confirmed there are 54 new cases of coronavirus in Ireland, bringing the total number in the Republic to 223, up from 169 yesterday.

Seven new cases were confirmed in the North earlier today, bringing the total number there to 52.

This means there are 275 confirmed cases on the island of Ireland.

The NPHET said the news cases are of 30 males and 24 females.

  • 41 are associated with the east of the country, 11 are associated with the south and 2 are associated with the north/west of the country.

Dr Tony Holohan said early modelling indicates we should expect 78 confirmed cases tomorrow, 109 cases on Wednesday rising to a daily number of 355 cases by Sunday.

Answering questions about whether the country should be put into effective ‘lockdown’, Holohan said:”A full scale ‘lockdown’ would be a disproportionate reponse at this point.”

Today, the WHO called on all countries to test every suspected case of Covid-19. There are now five hospital sites around the country providing testing. This number will increase over the coming week, medical chiefs said.

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer for the HSE said: “We are working closely with  the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) to manage the rapid increase in requests for testing. If you think you have symptoms of Covid-19, self-isolate and phone your GP, who will assess your need for a test.

“We ask people to be patient as we increase the number of staff and testing centres to accommodate the increase requirement for testing.”

Holohan added: “The behaviours we adopt in the next seven days will form the template for how we interrupt the spread of this virus over the coming months.

“We need to sustain social distancing, respiratory hygiene and these new ways of behaving if we are to succeed in minimising the threat posed by Covid-19.”

Earlier today, the President of the European Commission announced proposals to introduce temporary 30-day restriction on non-essential travel to the EU. 

Ursula von der Leyen made the announcement in a bid to reduce the pressure on the healthcare systems of EU member states and could come into effect once EU member states agree. 

The Irish government announced it was establishing a Pandemic Unemployment Payment to help people who have lost work because of the coronavirus outbreak.  

The payment of €203 per week will be available, for a six-week period, to all employees and the self-employed who have been affected by the seizing up of economic activity. 

Yesterday, Health Minister Simon Harris advised that all pubs should close until at least 29 March. Publican groups have said their members should follow the advice. 

With reporting by Garreth MacNamee

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