People Urged to "Stay at Home" by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

New coronavirus restrictions

The taoiseach yesterday urged everyone to stay at home to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Figures covering the 965 confirmed COVID-19 cases up until midnight on Sunday showed that 36 people had been admitted to the ICU. "All actions we take are based on epidemiological evidence and in proportion to our experience on this island".

204 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, bringing the total known cases in the country to 1,329.

For the past two days positive cases have risen to more than 200 per day, resulting in the government moving to the enhanced lockdown phase.

Dublin has the highest number of cases at 535.

Mr Varadkar asked the people of Ireland to follow public health advice and to wash hands regularly, observe proper cough and sneeze etiquette, not to touch your face, maintain physical distancing, and stay home if you feel unwell.

Gardai will be ensuring that people obey these measures and also comply with social distancing guidelines.

Social gatherings of no more than four people are allowed, unless they are from the same household.

Police and park rangers have been given extra powers to intervene if groups are found to breach the rules. - All cafes and restaurants should limit business to takeaways and delivery only. "If we get back after a month, it won't be the end of the world".

Quoting one of the books from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Varadkar said "everyone's a bit scared but we're a little less scared together".

Speaking at an Irish Government briefing in Dublin today, he said: "We believe we need to do more to flatten the curve".

156 prisoners released from prison
Jay Inslee's office said in an email he is aware of the issue, takes it seriously and is talking with the department about it. While announcing, the Ministry of Justice said: "We have suspended all prison visits in England and Wales for today".

So far 14,692 samples have been tested of which 6 per cent have returned positive.

Health chiefs say nearly 18,000 people in Ireland have now been tested for the disease.

The National Public Health Emergency Team met this morning to discuss further measures to slow the spread of Covid-19.

"People attending their GP today with let's say chest pain or somebody going to the local minor injuries unit with a sprained ankle will still either have a medical card or not have a medical card".

Meanwhile, the government announced a wide-ranging economic package created to protect workers and businesses directly affected by the virus.

On legislation that may be needed, he said: "There's nothing, if you like, on the books that we're not doing this week, but something may come up, and that's that's the concern - and it's a real one".

To encourage employers badly affected by the coronavirus to keep people on the payroll, the Government is introducing a significant subsidy.

The Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Support payment will also increase from €203 to €350 to aid those who have lost their jobs since the outbreak began.

Self-employed people will also be covered. It is created to ensure the facilities can reopen when the crisis is over and children's places are guaranteed for their return.

On childcare costs, Mr Varadkar said parents are being told that for the period of this emergency, parents will not have to pay for childcare that they are not receiving.

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