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Varadkar says COVID-19 emergency could last into the summer

The Taoiseach has warned that measures taken to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic could continue for m...
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

07.20 18 Mar 2020


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Varadkar says COVID-19 emergen...

Varadkar says COVID-19 emergency could last into the summer

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

07.20 18 Mar 2020


Share this article


The Taoiseach has warned that measures taken to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic could continue for months.

In a special St Patrick’s Day address to the nation last night, Leo Varadkar warned that we are in the middle of a “global and national emergency.”

He said that, “at some point,” the Government may ask elderly and vulnerable people to ‘cocoon’ at home for several weeks.

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He insisted the Irish economy will bounce back but admitted the bill will be ‘enormous.’

“So far, the number of cases in Ireland has been relatively small,” he said.

“However, we believe that number will rise to 15,000 cases or more by the end of the month and rise further in the weeks thereafter.

“The vast majority of us who contract COVID-19 will experience a mild illness – but some will be hospitalised and sadly, some people will die.”

Yesterday, 69 new cases of the virus were confirmed in the Republic – bringing the total on the island of Ireland to 354.

There are 292 cases in the Republic and 62 in the North.

Mr Varadkar said the COVID-19 emergency is likely to go well beyond March 29th and may continue for months into the summer.

He said all measures taken by the Government will be on the basis of public heath advice and promised to put people’s health ahead of any other concern.

“At a certain point, we will advise the elderly and people who have a long-term illness to stay at home for several weeks,” he said.

“We are putting in place the systems to ensure that if you are one of them, you will have food, supplies and are checked on.

“We call this ‘cocooning’ and it will save many lives, particularly the most vulnerable and the most precious in our society.”

The Taoiseach paid tribute to all frontline service workers and those working to keep the country’s supply chain operating and urged people around the country to “show solidarity in this time of national sacrifice.”


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