Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (top), Health Minister Simon Harris and the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan held a press conference about the Government’s latest response to the coronavirus, in which Mr Varadkar announced further restrictions on the public’s movements.
It follows the latest figures from the Department of Health confirming that three more people have died as a consequence of Covid-19, one of whom was a healthcare worker. This brings the total number of deaths to 22.
The figures also show 302 new cases have been confirmed, bringing the country’s total to 2,121.
During this address, Mr Varadkar said:
“I said there would be a calm before the storm and the aim of every single action that we’ve taken is to reduce the impact of that storm in our country, to slow the virus down, to push it back, to contain it.
“Throughout all of this, the Government has acted on the advice of the chief medical officer and national public health emergency team, an expert team of public health doctors, virologists and scientists.
“Today they informed the Government that the number of confirmed cases has now exceeded 2,100 and sadly the number of deaths now is 22 and there is a day-on-day increase in the number of admissions to intensive care units. In fact the number has doubled since Monday.
“Transmission in the community now accounts for more than half of all cases. And there continues to be an increasing number of clusters, many of which are in nursing homes and residential care settings.
“Earlier today the Government received further recommendations on the actions that we need to take to protect our people. These are in addition to all the measures that are already in place.
“So with effect from midnight tonight, for a two-week period, until Easter Sunday, the 12th, everybody must stay at home in all circumstances, except for the following situations.
“To travel to and from work, for the purposes of work, only where the work is an essential health, social care or other essential service that cannot be done from home. A list of these will be provided.
“To shop for food or household goods, or collect a meal. To attend medical appointments and collect medicines and other health products. For vital family reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people.
“To take brief, individual, physical exercise within two kilometres of your own home which may include children from your own household, as long as you adhere to two metre physical distancing.
“For farming purposes, that is food production and the caring of animals. All public and private gatherings of any number of people outside a single household living unit are prohibited.
“The virus might be in your house already so please don’t spread it to anyone else’s.
“Sadly, this prohibition includes family visits that are not for vital reasons which I already mentioned.
“A further range of non-essential shops and services will be closed. The guidance given earlier this week in respect of essential retail outlets will be revised to reflect this.
“Adult community education centres and local community centres will be shut. All non-essential surgery, health procedures and other other non-essential health services will be postponed. All visits to hospitals, residential healthcare settings, other residential settings and prisons are to cease with specific exceptions on compassionate grounds.
“Shielding or cocooning will be introduced for all of those over 70 years of age and specified categories of people who are extremely vulnerable to Covid-19. Detailed guidance will be available.
“Travel to our offshore islands will be limited to residents of those islands. Pharmacists will be permitted to dispense medicine outside of the current period of validity of limited prescription, in line with the pharmacist’s clinical judgment.
“All public transport and passenger travel will be restricted only to essential workers and people providing essential services. Apart from the activities that I’ve listed there should be no travel outside of a two-kilometre radius of your home for any reason.
“These are radical actions aimed at saving as many people’s lives as possible in the days and weeks ahead. We’re not prisoners of fate, we can influence what’s going to happen to us next. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”
An Taoiseach is a big Sarah Connor fan:
“There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves.” pic.twitter.com/ZvgMmgdz7V
— Courts News Ireland (@courtsnewsIRL) March 27, 2020
Watch back in full here.
Tonight, just before 10.45pm…
An Garda Síochána released the following statement:
An Garda Síochána has this evening started a major nationwide policing operation focused on supporting public compliance with public health measures over this weekend.
Following recent announcements by An Taoiseach of the necessity for people to undertake a range of public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19, there will be high visibility patrolling by Garda members across the country during the weekend.
The focus of this activity will be on encouraging people to adhere to public health measures as announced by An Taoiseach.
The policing operation runs from 7pm tonight until 7am on Monday morning (March 30) and will involve thousands of Gardaí on foot, bike and mobile patrols.
While An Garda Síochána will seek to encourage people to maintain the necessary public health measures, it will intervene where venues/ outlets are not in compliance or where groups of people are not adhering to recommended measures.
An Garda Síochána acknowledges that the vast majority of the public are being responsible and making great efforts to implementing public health measures including social distancing guidelines, this includes staying active as a family unit and availing of fresh air and exercise.
However, the presence of large crowds in any one area reduces the effective impact of social distancing.
An Garda Síochána asks people and families to continue to be responsible, not to attend popular locations for overly long periods and where the numbers of persons starts to increase at any location to leave such areas.
Announcing An Garda Síochána’s operation for this weekend Commissioner Drew Harris said, “An Garda Síochána’s priority is keeping people safe and that will continue this weekend. There will be a major policing plan across the country with high visibility of Garda members at key locations.
“It is vital that people adhere to the social distancing guidelines. This will reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. The vast majority of people are complying with the guidelines and we want that to continue this weekend. By all of us working together, we can flatten the curve and keep our loved ones safe.”
Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said, “These high visibility patrols are to provide re-assurance and social distancing advice to the public.
“Garda members will pro-actively engage positively with people. An Garda Síochána will police as it has always done with the consent of the people. It is in everybody’s interest that people comply with these measures.”
COVID-19 – An Garda Síochána Begins Major Policing Operation in support of public compliance of public health measures (An Garda Síochána)
It may be a tad late but yes, this is a good plan. I wonder would the HSE and those working behind the scenes prefer if Varadkar was not hijacking their “moment”, god knows they need a credibility boost.. Its tough going but it is what is needed. I suspect US andUK are going to have an even bigger crisis when the figures finally catch up with them. Stay safe y’all.
Is it really though? Not convinced yet.
An alternative perspective from Dr John Lee, a former NHS consultant pathologist. Worth a read at least:
“Governments everywhere say they are responding to the science. The policies in the UK are not the government’s fault. They are trying to act responsibly based on the scientific advice given. But governments must remember that rushed science is almost always bad science. We have decided on policies of extraordinary magnitude without concrete evidence of excess harm already occurring, and without proper scrutiny of the science used to justify them…
..If we take drastic measures to reduce the incidence of Covid-19, it follows that the deaths will also go down. We risk being convinced that we have averted something that was never really going to be as severe as we feared.
..The moral debate is not lives vs money. It is lives vs lives. It will take months, perhaps years, if ever, before we can assess the wider implications of what we are doing. .”
And need of a “credibility boost” ? Eh… wha’?
Where’d you get that idea from? What does it even mean?
All this should have taken place before even the first infection was detected, this Junta have spent
over a month engaging in spin and waffle to try and over come their disastrous election hiding, add
to this their failure to form National Government for the duration of the crisis, what we have is an
attempt to milk the crisis for Political gain, when the infection and death rates escalate and there is
ICU space, thats when we will see what Mr Varadkar is made up, he’d be respected if he donned
a white coat and did the job he was trained to do, has he volunteered to assist the HSE……?
A “junta”. OK.
Do you even want people to read the entirety of what you write. It doesn’t appear so, in fairness.
It’s a non elected government clamps. Put your pearls away mate.
I’m ckearly not the one with the pearls…
We don’t have to agree on everything; but let’s all agree you’re an utter gobshine in need of notice.
Junta? Insulting to anyone who suffered under one….
Lets be clear about it, since the results of the Election were declared 3 days after 8th
February this Government has no democratic mandate so in effect its a Junta, indeed
several Minsters have no moral right to hold office at all, they were not elected to the
present Dail and to cap it all, the current head of the Junta can not appoint the final
members to the Senate, it is beginning to resemble the South and Central American
You need to look up ‘junta’
It is what it is,a Junta, all that’s missing is the Military tackling’s and the medals, it’s just
that they haven’t the guts to fit them on
…mind you…in the past week this junta has frozen rents, abolished repossessions and evictions, nationalised health care, sanctioned the banks…so far, an improvement on the pre-election situation…
Let’s be clear about it, you have no idea what you are talking about.
…hah…coming from you that’s almost a compliment…
Spare a thought for the Palestinians. First cases reported in Gaza and with absolutely no resources to contain the virus it is a human catastrophe waiting to happen .
…hopefully, somebody will intervene on their behalf…Chinese?…Russians?…surely their Arab neighbours can’t stand idly by…
but not just the Palestinians ~ most of the world utterly ill equipped to cope with this; the toll on so many will be horrendous
Leo – the kitten who is not Taoiseach Kitten.
Lord Sandwich – The boy who is neither Lord nor Sandwich
And what about the Commander in Chief and his poetry recitals no doubt this will banish
the virus and possibly give rise resurrections by Easter Sunday
Michael D has been absolutely spot on this whole crisis, good luck to you
Don’t knock poetry, it will give solace to many during this time.
Pandemic by Lynn Ungar
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
In a Cocoon