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Dr Tony Holohan at last night's Department of Health Briefing.

Third death from Covid-19 in Ireland confirmed, with 191 new cases, bringing total to 557

Health officials updated the number of confirmed cases at their daily press briefing this evening.

LAST UPDATE | 19 Mar 2020

THE DEPARTMENT OF Health has this evening confirmed 191 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, and said another person has died from the virus in Ireland. 

The third person to die from the virus is a female from the east of the country. 

It brings the total number of cases here to 557. The jump in new cases is more than double the 74 new cases confirmed yesterday. There are now 634 people on the island of Ireland who’ve diagnosed with the coronavirus.

There have been 3 deaths associated with Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan told reporters this evening that the median age of cases diagnosed here is 43.

Community transmission accounts for 35% of cases, local/close contacts account for  21%, travel abroad covers 43% while the remaining 71 cases are under investigation.

Across all cases, 31% of those diagnosed with the virus have been hospitalised while 7 cases (2% of overall number) have been admitted to an intensive care unit.

Holohan said: “It is too early to see any impact of our social distancing measures. This data underscores the importance of younger people to rigorously follow public health advice and social distancing measures.”

The chief medical officer told reporters that he doesn’t believe people returning from the Cheltenham festival had an impact on today’s large jump in figures. He said the number of cases confirmed today was consistent with what had been expected here. 

“The cases we have seen diagnosed today and in the past 24 hours are cases were people who would have been infected and exposed before we brought in the measures,” he said.

As we move to the days further past the weekend, we will be watching the figures and as we pass the end of the month, we should see an impact of social distancing in two or three weeks.
We are already seeing in our everyday lives very significant changes in how society is operating and crowds are absent from the streets and from our schools, and gatherings are not happening.

Dr Breda Smyth, Director of Public Health Medicine at the HSE, said: “Healthcare workers are at the frontline of this pandemic. While it is heartening to see social distancing measures taken seriously across society, this must continue in order to protect the most vulnerable and support our healthcare staff throughout this pandemic.”

Northern Ireland today confirmed its first death from the coronavirus after an elderly patient with an underlying condition passed away in hospital. 

Earlier today, TDs attended a sitting of the Dáil to pass emergency legislation to help fight the spread of the coronavirus and the impact of job losses. 

As the government introduces further measures to help mitigate the effects of the current public health crisis, it today announced a rent freeze and temporary ban on evictions.

Meanwhile, there have been 58,000 applications for the Covid-19 unemployment payment.

With reporting from Cónal Thomas

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