COVID-19 LATEST: 15,000 Coronavirus cases by end of month – Taoiseach
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned it is expected there will be up to 15,000 coronavirus cases in the country by the end of the month.
In a press conference this evening, the Taoiseach said most Covid-19 patients will not need to be treated in hospital, but some will require ICU critical care.
He was speaking as 79 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the Republic between Saturday and Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 169.
Two people have died from the illness so far.
In Northern Ireland, seven new cases of coronavirus were confirmed today, bringing the total number of cases to 52.
There are now 221 cases of Covid-19 on the island of Ireland.
These evening, in light of the significant upsurge in coronavirus cases:
*The Taoiseach warned we can expect a 30% increase in Covid-19 cases every day;
*Tánaiste Simon Coveney said restrictions are going to be imposed on everybody who comes into Ireland from now, saying they will be asked to restrict their movement;
*The National Public Health Emergency Team recommended that all Irish residents be advised against all non-essential travel overseas at this time until March 29;
*Health Minister Simon Harris revealed “a massive national recruitment campaign” will be launched tomorrow in a bid to boost frontline staff;
*Croke Park authorities have offered the home of GAA for Covid-19 testing and are in discussions with the HSE;
*Welfare payments will be available to those who have lost jobs due to the crisis.
The Cabinet Sub-Committee met earlier today and it was decided to further increase funding for the HSE to combat the depeening Covid-19 crisis. Funding will be used to increase community testing and use facilities in private hospitals.
The HSE has written to retired staff and believes it has secured all of the pool of retirees who are in a position to return to work. First year student nurses may be invited to assist with contact tracing.
Meanwhile, it is estimated around 140,000 people have been laid off work in Ireland because of the measures taken to tackle the coronavirus.
This is a combination of 70,000 restaurant workers, 50,000 pub and bar staff, and around 20,000 crèche and childcare workers.
Those eligible are being urged not to go to Intreo, the public employment service offices, to abide by social distancing rules and avoid long queues.
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has revealed it will be a “number of weeks” before employers are reimbursed for paying workers at least the jobseeker rate of €203 a week if companies have to cease trading as a result of Covid-19 measures.
Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Minister Doherty said she will announce tomorrow or Wednesday when employers will be reimbursed, but “there is no reason to think that it would be a week or two at most”.
She said people who want to avail of this payment do not need to have a public services card to access it.
“If you have the card you can go to mygov.ie and fill out the form and you will be responded to within days. If you don’t have one, go to welfare.ie and download the form and send it back by freepost to PO BOX 12896,” Minister Doherty said.