Michael Staines
Michael Staines

07.20 23 Mar 2020


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People may be banned from going to beaches and parks under new measures being considered to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The new restrictions are being considered after reports of large groups of people visiting beaches and walking trails around the country yesterday.

Images share on social media suggested many of them were failing to observe social distancing.

Yesterday afternoon, Wicklow County Council moved to close all car parks in the Glendalough Valley due to concerns that the large number of visitors to the area were not practicing social distancing.

Meanwhile, Gardaí restricted access to the Sally Gap because of the high volume of traffic and careless parking. They also warned of heavy traffic at Brittas Bay, Magheramore and Bray seafront.

The National Public Health Emergency Team will this week consider whether stricter restrictions are needed.

It comes as a fourth COVID-19 patient died over the weekend.

There are now 906 confirmed cases of the virus in the Republic and 128 in the North – a total of 1034 on the island of Ireland.

According to a new breakdown of the figures, more than half of the confirmed cases in the Republic are in Dublin.

Almost a third of the 712 cases that had been detected as of Friday evening were hospitalised – and 17 of them were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The median age of the patients is still 44 and 55% are men.

The waiting period for a test is currently between four and five days – with around 40,000 people on the waiting list.

Officials expect over 40 of a planned 60 new test centres to be operational by tomorrow.

The HSE has also announced plans to double the capacity in hospitals across the country – adding another 10,000 beds.

Main image shows people, generally obeying the social distancing guidelines and enjoying the outdoors on the Curragh Plains in County Kildare, 23-03-2020. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

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