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Third death in Ireland, Dáil sitting for emergency legislation, Italy fatalities overtake China: Today's Covid-19 main points

There are now 428 cases of the coronavirus on the island of Ireland.


Updated Mar 19th 2020, 9:58 PM

THE DÁIL HAS been sitting today to pass emergency legislation to help combat the  Covid-19 outbreak.

A limited number of TDs have been attendance at a sitting of the Dáil from 2 pm to debate measures which will remove waiting time for social welfare allowances, as well as outlining powers that would allow those suspected of being infected with the illness to be detained.

This evening, it was announced that a third person had died from the virus in Ireland, while another 191 cases of the virus were confirmed, bringing the total in Ireland to 557.

Ten new cases were also announced in the North, bringing the total number there to 62.

Elsewhere, the North confirmed its first death from the virus after an elderly patient passed away in a hospital in the greater Belfast area.

But China has reported no new domestic cases if the illness for the first time.

The country’s health ministry said today that results over the past 24 hours showed 34 new cases, all detected in people arriving from abroad.

Here are today’s main Covid-19 points:

  • The Department of Health confirmed 191 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, and said another person has died from the virus in Ireland. 
  • Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told a meeting of Fine Gael TDs that the closure of schools due to the Covid-19 outbreak may be extended into April or May.
  • 48 TDs attended a sitting of the Dáil to pass emergency laws to help fight the spread of the coronavirus and impact of job losses.
  • The North has confirmed its first death from the coronavirus and reported 9 new cases of Covid-19 bringing the total there to 77. 
  • Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has been self-isolating for the past week since returning home from visiting family abroad.
  • The Government is set to announce a temporary ban on evictions for an initial period of three months but this may be extended depending on how long the Covid-19 crisis lasts.
  • Credit-servicing funds and non-bank mortgage lenders agreed to allow a break on mortgage repayments for up to three months and to defer court proceedings for three months.
  • The Department of Education has announced the cancellation of the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert orals and practical exams.
  • Health officials have for the first time revealed a breakdown of where Covid-19 has struck in Ireland so far, and details about the age and gender of those affected.
  • The master of the National Maternity Hospital has confirmed that a patient at the facility has tested positive for Covid-19, but said pregnancy itself is not a risk factor for the virus.
  • The HSE has said it has seen 40,000 people apply to work for the health service in the two days since a recruitment drive was launched.
  • DUP leader Arlene Foster has said that a decision to close schools in the North from next week was not directed by Westminster. 
  • It is understood that supports for renters will not come in the form of access to the Housing Assistance Payment scheme, but from another form of rent assistance.
  • Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy will table legislation to protect renters during the crisis next week, it has been confirmed.
  • The HSE has confirmed that parking charges for staff in hospitals and healthcare facilities are to be immediately suspended for the duration of the Covid-19 coronavirus emergency. 
  • Pregnant women who contract Covid-19 have been asked not to attend the National Maternity Hospital unless they are in need of urgent medical or obstetric care.
  • RTÉ reports that the Department of Foreign Affairs has urged all Irish tourists in Spain to travel home by this Saturday.

In international coronavirus news:

  • Italy has overtaken China as the country with the most coronavirus-related deaths, registering 3,405 dead.
  • Italy’s prime minister has announced that the ongoing lockdown in the country will be extended beyond 3 April.
  • The UK Prime Minister said the first British patient had been put in a randomised trial for a treatment for coronavirus. Boris Johnson said the tide could be turned in the coronavirus fight within the next 12 weeks.
  • US President Donald Trump said his government is fast-tracking the anti-malarial drug chloroquine for use as a treatment against the new coronavirus.
  • China has recorded no new domestic infections of coronavirus for the first time, although it has reported 34 imported cases.
  • The NHS in the UK said that 29 more people diagnosed with Covid-19 have died bringing the total number of deaths in England from the virus to 128. 
  • The European Central Bank has announced a €750-billion scheme to purchase government and corporate bonds to contain the economic damage from the virus.
  • Australia has announced a ban on entry for non-residents from 9.00 pm tomorrow evening.
  • Twitter has announced that it will mark as harmful and delete posts which contain fake treatments for Covid-19 or deny expert guidance.
  • The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has revealed that he has the virus.
  • Prince Albert of Monaco has also tested positive for coronavirus.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said there are no plans to close London’s transport network or place restrictions on anyone travelling in or out of the city.

Additional reporting by Conal Thomas 

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