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Minister for Health Simon Harris holds a leaflet which forms part of the public awareness campaign for COVID-19. PA
Leinster House

TDs to discuss Covid-19 outbreak for six hours when Dáil reconvenes this week

There have been two confirmed cases on the island of Ireland so far.

THE DÁIL WILL discuss the outbreak of Covid-19 for six hours on Thursday when it reconvenes for its second day since the general election. 

Following a case of Covid-19 being confirmed in Northern Ireland last week, there were calls for the Dáil to be recalled by Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín.

So far, two cases have been confirmed on the island of Ireland.

The Northern Ireland case was the first to be confirmed.

It’s understood the woman travelled from northern Italy to Dublin via air, and travelled home to Northern Ireland.

She contacted a GP and took steps to self-isolate once she noticed symptoms. 

A second case, this time a pupil in a Dublin 9 secondary school was confirmed over the weekend. 

Health officials have contacted the school and the principal, staff and parents of pupils of this school have been notified. The school is now set to close for two weeks and contact tracing with all those who came into contact with the patient to be undertaken.

The Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan has said that the developments do not change the department’s procedures in responding to the virus. 

Despite this, Tóibín said it is “disgraceful” that the Dáil is not in session and that TDs are being briefed through the media. 

According to the most extensive study done so far, the novel coronavirus was benign in 80.9% of cases, “serious” in 13.8% and “critical” in 4.7%.

The remaining 0.6% was not specified. Part of the reason Covid-19 has been declared a public health emergency is due to the speed at which it has spread compared to other coronaviruses (like Sars and Mers) and the fact that there’s a lot about the disease we still don’t know – including how exactly it’s being transmitted. / YouTube

TDs returning to Leinster House on Thursday will also hear statements on the European Council meeting. 

While the House will reconvene this week, there won’t be another vote held on who should be the next Taoiseach. 

The Dáil Business Committee met last week and agreed that no vote should be held as government formation talks are not expected to have progressed significantly. 

Two weeks ago, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald received the most votes to become the next Taoiseach. 

However, despite receiving 45 votes, both Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and other smaller parties, such as the Green Party, voted against McDonald in greater numbers, with 84 voting against her and 29 abstentions. 

Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar got 36 votes in favour of him continuing as Taoiseach, with 107 votes against and 16 abstentions.

There were 41 votes in favour of Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin becoming Taoiseach, with 97 against and 19 abstentions.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan received 12 votes in favour of him as Taoiseach, with 115 votes against and 28 TDs abstaining. 

It is not expected that another vote for Taoiseach will take place until after Leo Varadkar returns from the United States following the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the White House. 

The Taoiseach has maintained that the caretaker government still has the authority to deal with all events. 

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