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302 new cases, 3 further deaths, and Boris Johnson has the virus: Today's Covid-19 main points

The total number of confirmed cases in Ireland is now 1,819.

Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated Mar 27th 2020, 5:55 PM

HEALTH OFFICIALS CONFIRMED a further 302 new cases of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the total number of cases here to 2,121.

Three more deaths were also confirmed, meaning 22 people have died from the virus here. 

Last night, the Dáil passed new emergency measures dealing with issues such as a nationwide rent freeze, a ban on evictions, measures to allow the re-enlistment of former members to the Defence Forces, as well as retired health workers to be re-hired.

On the international front, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for Covid-19 and the US has now become the epicentre of the disease globally, surpassing China and Italy as the country with the highest number of confirmed cases of the illness. 

Here are today’s main Covid-19 points:

  • A further 3 deaths from Covid-19 and 302 cases in the Republic of Ireland were confirmed this evening.
  • Bus and train services will operate on reduced schedules, about 80% of normal capacity, from next week.
  • The government has also announced that prison visits will stop from tomorrow and be replaced by electronic visits.
  • In Northern Ireland, three new deaths from Covid-19 were confirmed, with 34 new cases of the virus reported. This brings the total number of cases in the North to 275.
  • Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that the country’s intensive care units (ICU) could reach capacity within a few days but that the health service is making an “unprecedented effort” to increase capacity.
  • The Peruvian government has given Ireland the green light to fly over 130 Irish citizens out of Peru in the next few days.
  • Emergency Covid-19 legislation has passed in the Seanad, making way for President Michael D Higgins to sign it into law.
  • Emergency measures addressing resources within six departments, including housing and health, were passed in the Dáil last night.
  • The government has said that nearly all Covid-19 unemployment benefit claims it received up to close of business yesterday will be paid by next Tuesday.
  • Ryan Tubridy will not present the Late Late Show tonight due to a “persistent cough” with the show to be presented by Miriam O’Callaghan instead. 
  • Internal bank documents reveal that AIB’s Covid-19 mortgage break originally required customers to have two months of savings to qualify before the bank met with the Minister for Finance.
  • Minister Heather Humphries today launched a guide for businesses in preventing the spread of Covid-19. Prepared by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Innovation alongside the HSE and the National Standards Authority of Ireland, the “Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide” offers guidance to businesses for protecting staff and the public during the pandemic. 
  • The Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has reminded people of all ages to follow guidelines on social distancing amid reports of young people being admitted to intensive care with the coronavirus.
  • Homeless charity DePaul is to open a 100-bed cocooning unit in conjunction with the HSE and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.
  • Cork County Council has warned people that traffic restrictions and patrols will be in place this weekend at beaches and amenity areas in a bid to ensure physical distancing. “Gatherings at such facilities is discouraged and will be dispersed,” the council warned. 
  • Urgent funding of €2.5million has been released under the Sound and Vision scheme to support local radio stations around the country. 

Here are the main international points:

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock have tested positive for Covid-19. The pair both said they have mild symptoms and are continuing to work from their homes.
  • The US has overtaken China and Italy as the country with the most coronavirus infections, with over 83,000 people there having tested positive.
  • Italy has become the second country to overtake China in coronavirus infections after the US, recording 86,498 on the day it recorded its single biggest leap in deaths, with 969 more deaths announced today
  • China has banned foreigners from entering the country, while foreign-nationals with valid visas and resident permits will be blocked from returning to the country from midnight tonight.
  • EU leaders have failed to agree a continent-wide stimulus package to help fight the virus, and have set a fortnight to come up with a stronger response to the economic havoc wrought by the pandemic.
  • In Spain, deaths from Covid-19 have risen to 4,858 – an increase of 769 in a single day. 

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With reporting by Órla Ryan and Adam Daly 

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