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Restrictions 'likely' to last beyond March, a rate freeze for businesses: Today's Covid-19 main points

191 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in Ireland last night.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated Mar 20th 2020, 3:07 PM

THE CHAIR OF the HSE’s Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group has said that ongoing restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak are “likely” to last beyond 29 March.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night, Dr Cillian De Gascun also said that Ireland had not yet seen the impact of social distancing measures announced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week.

On the same programme, Professor Sam McConkey, Head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons said that Ireland may see up to 2,000 new cases of the disease every day within ten days.

He suggested the state would “probably need to do things differently” if there wasn’t an improvement in the increase by next week.

Meanwhile, more than 300 new gardaí will be deployed to stations nationwide to help respond to the crisis.

The new recruits will bring the Garda’s numbers to almost 15,000.

Here are today’s main Covid-19 points:

  • Ireland will “likely” have to impose social restrictions beyond 29 March, the head of the HSE’s Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group has warned.
  • More than 300 new gardaí have been sworn in to help respond to the crisis.
  • 126 new cases of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland were announced this evening by health officials, bringing the total number of cases to 683. Three people diagnosed with the coronavirus have so far died in the Republic.
  • Nine new cases were confirmed in Northern Ireland today, bringing their total number of cases to 86. So far one person with Covid-19 has died in the North.
  • A bill giving the government emergency detention powers during the Covid-19 crisis passed through the Seanad this afternoon. 
  • The government has announced plans for a temporary ban on evictions for the duration of the crisis.
  • Irish citizens stranded abroad due to restrictions implemented as a result of the coronavirus have called on the government to help them return home.
  • Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Micahel Creed met by teleconference all the main representative groups for fishing today in which there was a full review of the challenges facing the fishing sector.
  • The deputy Mayor of Bergamo, the Italian town which has been hit hardest by Covid-19, has warned Ireland to prepare for the outbreak to worsen.
  • Dublin City Council’s chief executive has said that businesses who can pay their commercial property rates should continue to so.
  • Business group Ibec has called for a government package of up to €6 billion to provide “income continuity” for employees impacted by the crisis.

In international coronavirus news:

  • The worldwide death toll from the virus has now reached more than 10,000 people.
  • Boris Johnson ordered all pubs, restaurants and cafes to close across the UK from midnight tonight.
  • California’s governor has ordered people in the most populous US state to stay home.
  • Netflix has said it will temporarily reduce the quality of videos on its platform to ease pressure on internet service providers during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • China has exonerated a doctor who was officially reprimanded for warning about the coronavirus outbreak and later died of the disease.
  • Donald Trump has called off the G7 meeting in the US scheduled for June, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
  • The number of cases in Spain has surpassed 20,000, with the death toll also rising to more than 1,000 people.
  • The Canada-US border will likely be closed to non-essential travel overnight from Friday to Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday.
  • 23 inmates escaped from an Iranian prison, state news agency IRNA reported today.

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