Coronavirus: 219 New Cases Confirmed In Ireland

Latest updates from around the country.

Breaking news:

Two more people have died from Coronavirus in Ireland.

There are 20 cases in Westmeath, Offaly has 10 and 6 in Laois. 

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been informed that 2 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ireland have died.

Both patients are male and in the east of the country.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has been informed of 219 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland, as at 1pm, Monday 23 March.

There are now 1,125 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

The HSE is now working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

Today’s data from HPSC, as of midnight, Saturday 21 March (836 cases), reveals:

•55% are male and 44% are female, with 37 clusters involving 210 cases

•the median age of confirmed cases is 44 years

•239 cases (29%) have been hospitalised

•Of those hospitalised, 25 cases have been admitted to ICU

•208 cases (25%) are associated with healthcare workers

•Dublin has the highest number of cases at 471, (56% of all cases) followed by Cork with 104 cases (12%)

•Of those for whom transmission status is known: community transmission accounts for 45%, close contact accounts for 23%, travel abroad accounts for 31%

Research conducted on behalf of the Department of Health shows that more than 93% of the population are washing their hands more often as a result of Coronavirus.

The nationally representative online survey of 1,270 adults conducted today, and which will be conducted twice weekly, reveals;

•88% of people say they are staying at home, rather than going out

•84% of people say they are practicing social distance in a queue

•71% of people say they are sitting further apart from others

•75% are confident they would know what steps to take if they developed symptoms and 90% know the two most common symptoms (fever and/or cough)

If you are experiencing symptoms, such as fever and cough, self isolate and call your GP who will guide you.

Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said: “We understand the anxiety this outbreak may be causing people. All aspects of our public health advice are constantly reviewed by the National Public Health Emergency Team and we will not hesitate to take more measures where necessary, based on epidemiological evidence and in proportion with Ireland’s experience of this outbreak.

“The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet again tomorrow morning, where we will continue to review Ireland’s response and make further recommendations where appropriate.”

Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health; “The key response that every individual can make if they are experiencing symptoms is to self isolate. While we continue to increase testing in Ireland, in line with WHO guidelines, the most important action that can be taken against this virus is isolation and social distancing.”



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17.37 - Fake:

People are being warned to be cautious of a website which is selling hand sanitiser in Ireland. 

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission says website 'What a' is being closely monitored. 

It says it has concerns around the information being provided to customers, and where it identifies issues it will take action to protect consumers. 

17.21 - Government

The Taoiseach is flatly rejecting calls from Sinn Féin for the Apple tax money to be used to pay for Coronavirus supports. 

Leo Varadkar has said the money is not the government's to take - and they will be finding other means to pay for the required measures. 

Political party leaders met this afternoon to discuss the next steps in responding to COVID-19.

But the Fine Gael leader says that won't involve raiding the Apple tax money:

17.20 - Farming

The closure of McDonald’s restaurants represents a loss of over 3,000 tons of beef per month, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association.

There are calls for the European Commission to implement market support measures to keep beef prices stable.

McDonald's says all restaurants on both sides of the border must close by 7PM this evening at the latest.

A number of other outlets such as Supermacs, Nandos and Subway are also shutting this evening.

Edmund Graham from the ICSA says excess beef could be put into storage:

17.15 - Banking

A union representing Bank of Ireland staff says it's confident branch closures won't lead to job losses. 

101 branches are being temporarily shut, with workers being redeployed to larger ones and call centres during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Bank of Ireland says it's recorded a significant increase in customers seeking Covid 19 supports, such as mortgage and business loan breaks. 

Maeve Brehony, Senior Industrial Relations Officer with the Financial Services Union, says the closed branches will reopen eventually: 

17.09 - UK:

Another 46 people in England who tested positive for coronavirus have died, taking the total to 303.

It's also been confirmed there've been another 4 deaths in Wales and the same number in Scotland.

Britain could be placed in "lockdown" to force people into self-isolation, after appeals to stay indoors were ignored by some over the weekend.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the Government is willing to take "more action" if needed to stop coronavirus from spreading.

O2 and Next have become the latest firms to announce they're closing their stores.

16.46 - O'Neill's:

Irish sportswear company O'Neills is to start making scrubs for healthcare workers. 

The GAA jersey manufacturer says it will soon be providing scrubs for health and social care trusts. 

O'Neills says it is observing government hygiene and distancing advice. 

16.34 - Recruitment:

Over 60,000 people have registered for the "Be On Call For Ireland" Covid-19 recruitment drive.

The HSE is now analysing all the information, and has asked everyone who has applied to be patient while they work through the applications.

The focus will primarily be on recruiting health professionals who are not providing care in any healthcare setting already, but who are available for work immediately. 

16.25 - Retailers:

Retailers are reassuring the public that they have a plenty of products for supermarket shelves. 

Industry representatives met with Business Minister Heather Humphreys today. 

Meanwhile people are being encouraged to volunteer to do food shops and deliveries for vulnerable people in their community.

Senior Government official Elizabeth Canavan says a significant number of people have already done so:

15.58 - Social Media:

People are being warned about a fake Daniel O'Donnell Instagram account asking for donations to help fight the outbreak of Covid-19.

Fraudsters have set up a fake account impersonating the singer which is targeting his fans for money.

Daniel O'Donnell is warning people to ignore the online hoax and is asking them to spread the word that the account is fake.

He's also urging anyone affected to report the account to Gardaí.

15.54 - Consumer:

The consumer watchdog is warning people about the information a website is providing about the hand sanitiser it sells. is selling a variety of hand gels and sanitisers.

The CCPC is closely monitoring the site, and is encouraging anyone that notices any misleading practices to report them.

The commission says a small minority of traders may be engage in commercial practices that are damaging to vulnerable consumers. 

15.38 - Lockdown:

Sinn Féin has called for a full shut-down of all non-essential services as the government waits on further advice from doctors.

Leo Varadkar has suggested a full lockdown of the country is not the best way to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.

The leaders of the main political parties are meeting this afternoon to talk about the next steps, including enhanced social welfare supports.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin says after the large gatherings of people in public places at the weekend, more restrictions are needed:

The Health Minister Simon Harris says the response over the next number of days must be about saving lives:

15.24 - Farming: 

Farming is a front line service during this pandemic, according to the Irish Farmers Association. 

They've made the call after McDonald's announced it was closing all of its restaurants from today.

A number of other outlets such as Supermacs, Nandos and Subway are also shutting this evening.

1 in 5 burgers sold in McDonald's across Europe comes from Ireland and there is now a concern for the beef sector.

But President of the IFA and Toomevara's Tim Cullinan, says they will come through the crisis:

15.00 - Political Parties:

Political party leaders are meeting around now to discuss the crisis.

Sinn Féin has called for all non-essential businesses to be closed.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin also says more severe restrictions are needed:

14.52 - Now TV:

Now TV is offering a free 3 month "Kids Pass" for the rest of the month.

The pass gives access to shows such as Pokémon, Paw Patrol, Gruffalo and Peppa Pig.

It also includes a range of educational children's documentaries.

14.49 - Radio:

The Green Party is calling for the Government to support local radion stations. 

Their Communications Spokesperson, Brian Leddin TD says the industry is facing closures due to a dramatic decline in advertising revenue.

He  believes local radio plays an important role in our communities, and the public service they offer is particularly important in light of the on-going COVID-19 crisis.

He says in many areas they are playing a vital role in the emergency planning protocol, as they are a trusted source of information about the unfolding crisis, and in a lot of cases they are the most reliable channel we have for disseminating urgent public health information.

14.41 - Education:

Free adult education distance learning is being made available during the Covid 19 outbreak.

The National Adult Literacy Agency is providing tuition over the phone to help adults with reading, writing, form-filling, helping children with homework and understanding financial information from banks. 

In particular, help is available for filling in social welfare forms, and applying for mortgage relief. 

Anyone interested can Freephone 1800 20 20 65, or Text LEARN to 50050 to set up phone or online tutoring. 

14.00 - Closures:

Subway, Starbucks and Krispy Kreme are the latest stores to announce they are closing. 

The outlets will shut from this evening until further notice. 

The closures come as McDonald's announced last night it will also be shutting its stores from today.

13.30 - Irish Cattle and Sheep Association:

All McDonald's restaurants on both sides of the border are to close from 7pm this evening at the latest.

Management at the fast food chain say it's the only way to keep staff and customers safe during the pandemic.

There are now concerns for the beef industry with 1 in 5 burgers in Europe of Irish origin.

Edmund Graham from the Irish Cattle and Sheep Association has called for the European Commission to intervene:

13.20 - Virus

A 28 year old man, who has the coronavirus, says it’s a cruel illness.

Kerry man Micheál Prendergast says it’s almost indescribable how sick he has been:

13.10 Showbiz

Tom Hanks says he and his wife Rita Wilson now feel better - two weeks after displaying their first symptom of coronavirus.

The pair were quarantined after testing positive while in Australia as the actor was working on a film there.

He's tweeted to urge people to stay inside, saying it's "common sense". 

13.01 - Parks:

Leo Varadkar has suggested a full lockdown of the country will not be the most effective way to tackle the Coronavirus.

The government is to hold discussions with park operators today after large numbers of people gathered in public spaces over the weekend.

At the moment there's no plan for a full lockdown - but there's likely to be further restrictions on public spaces. 

The Taoiseach says he expects to have more advice tomorrow:

12.48 - Payment:

Those who applied for the Covid-19 unemployment payment last week will get their first payment tomorrow.

The Government is warning people about a scam that's targeting people in receipt of the payment. 

Those who applied for the Covid19 social welfare payment last week after losing their jobs following the closure of bars, hotels, and other businesses  will receive their first payment tomorrow. 

Elizabeth Canavan - A Senior Official at the Department of the Taoiseach - says all social welfare payments will now be paid every two weeks. 

Ms Canavan also warned that scammers are now targeting those in receipt of the COVID19 unemployment payment:

Business Minister Heather Humphreys is meeting with retail sector representatives today, but the public is being assured that there are no supply chain issues.

12.36 - Krispy Kreme:

Krispy Kreme has announced it's closing its UK and Ireland stores from this evening.

The donut shop, which has an outlet in Blanchardstown, will temporarily shut from 6 o'clock.

The company says staff will continue to be paid as normal.

12.19 - Gardai:

Gardaí have warned people of a man allegedly coughing on people in Co Kildare. 

A man and woman reported they were coughed on while walking on the Sallins Road last Thursday at around 2pm.

Officers are encouraging people to report this type of activity, and say it could result in an offence. 


    12.36 - Krispy Kreme:

    Krispy Kreme has announced it's closing its UK and Ireland stores from this evening.

    The donut shop, which has an outlet in Blanchardstown, will temporarily shut from 6 o'clock.

    The company says staff will continue to be paid as normal.

    12.19 - Gardai:

    Gardaí have warned people of a man allegedly coughing on people in Co Kildare. 

    A man and woman reported they were coughed on while walking on the Sallins Road last Thursday at around 2pm.

    Officers are encouraging people to report this type of activity, and say it could result in an offence. 

    12.15 - Marie Keating Foundation:

    The Marie Keating Foundation says it is in an unprecedented situation after canceling all its upcoming fundraisers due to the coronavirus crisis.

    The cancer charity says this has had an immediate impact on its income and is appealing to the public's for help.

    It relies heavily on these to fund lifesaving cancer prevention, awareness and support services. 

    12.02 - Diageo:

    Diageo is donating alcohol to manufacturing partners in countries around the world to produce millions of bottles of hand sanitiser.

    The Grain Neutral Spirit, which is used to make vodka and gin, will go towards the production of eight million bottles of sanitiser. 

    500,000 litres of alcohol is to be donated in Ireland and the UK for sanitiser for healthcare workers. 

    11.52 - Recruits:

    Gardai who were sworn in prematurely as part of the new coronavirus policing programme will begin their first day of duty today.

    The new members will be community based and will help out with elderly and vulnerable people.

    319 Gardai became full members last week after their training was fast tracked to deal with the crisis.

    11.19 - Critical week:

    A consultant in infectious diseases says this is a critical week when it comes to the virus.

    Professor Patrick Mallon says there’s absolutely no room for complacency:

    11.05 - UK:

    In the UK, health minister Nadine Dorries is going back to work, after recovering from coronavirus. 

    The Conservative politician became the first MP to test positive for Covid-19 earlier this month. 

    She's posted on Twitter that she's heading back to Parliament to play her part. 

    10.50 - Soaps:

    Emmerdale is the latest soap to reduce the number of times it's on each week.

    It will now air three episodes every seven days, so ITV has enough already filmed to keep it on screens until the early summer.

    It's already changed the pattern that Coronation Street is shown, after filming was halted. 

    10.37 - Scouts:

    Every scout group across the country will be mobilised as part of the response to the outbreak.

    Scouting Ireland says it has been asked by the government to help with the couuntry's response.

    It is establishing a task force which would include commissioners and key staff members.

    10.17 - Banks:

    Bank of Ireland is temporarily closing 101 of its branches tomorrow because of coronavirus. 

    It's due to a big reduction in footfall over the past ten days. 

    However, Bank of Ireland says 161 of its banks will stay open. 

    Meanwhile, AIB says its branches remain open to customers, except for those located on college campuses. 

    09.45 - UK:

    The British Army is joining efforts to get face masks, gloves and other protective equipment to NHS staff battling the coronavirus outbreak. 

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also revealed new measures could be introduced - if members of the public continue to ignore advice on social distancing. 

    281 patients with Covid-19 have died in the UK so far. 

    Meanwhile UK unions say train drivers are furious at how busy the London Underground's been this morning. 

    The number of passengers made social distancing "impossible" - according to workers' representatives. 

    Transport for London is urging people to only travel if their journey is "absolutely essential". 

    09.18 - Italy:

    In Italy, the number of people who have died after testing positive for Covid-19 passed 5,000 over the weekend.

    Hugo McCafferty, Irish journalist living in lockdown in Italy, says yesterday's figures showed a drop in mortality rates: 

    Meanwhile, a teacher from Derry who endures the continuous sound of church bells tolling for the dead in northern Italy is urging people here to stay indoors.

    Fionnuala Crabtree is in lockdown in the walled city of Bergamo, near Milan.

    The area has been hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    She says there's devastation in the area:

    09.25 - Infection: 

    People who recover from coronavirus are still being reminded to keep up with social distancing.

    It's believed there is a period of immunity following infection, but experts don't know enough about the illness to know how long it will last.

    Chair of the Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group, Cillian De Gascun, says people who have been infected shouldn't automatically assume they're immune:

    An immunology expert believes it will take 12 to 18 months before a vaccine will be available - despite testing getting under way last week.

    However, Professor Kingston Mills from Trinity College says it will only be available in that time if the vaccine is proven to work:

    09.00 - Tougher enforcement:

    The Health Minister says new recommendations are likely to tackle problems with social distancing.

    There are concerns some people aren’t adhering to the two metre distance to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet tomorrow to consider if tighter restrictions are necessary.

    Simon Harris says some people still aren’t following social distancing rules:

    08.47 - Showbiz:

    Tom Hanks says he and his wife are feeling better two weeks after their first symptoms of coronavirus began.

    Tom and his wife Rita Wilson have been self-isolating in Australia after they tested positive for the illness.

    They spent some time in hospital before being released last week.

    Tom Hanks had been filming an Elvis biopic down under.

    08.32 - Olympics

    Japan's prime minister says the Tokyo Olympic Games may need to be postponed, if it can't be held in its 'complete form'.

    Canada says it won't be sending any athletes this summer.

    While chief executive of the Australian Olympic Committee Matt Carroll admits they don't think they will either: 

    08.20 - Economy:

    1.4 million people could be out of work here if we ended up in a lockdown, according to an expert.

    Tony Foley, a senior lecturer at DCU's Business School, says a complete shutdown would see more people laid off than were during the economic crash: 

    08.02 - Hospitality:

    It could take up to 62 weeks from closing due to Covid 19, for a business in the hospitality sector to recoup its losses.

    That's the warning from PwC, which wants workers in pubs, restaurants and pubs to be given 75 per cent of their take home pay to survive.

    It says the industry is worth up to 7.6 billion euro every year and around 100,000 people may have already lost their jobs.

    PwC spokesperson Owen McFeeley the industry's been dealt a massive blow:

    07.47 - Virus:

    HSE consultant in public health, Sarah Doyle, says nobody should underestimate the danger of coronavirus:

    06.47 - Social distancing:

    New stricter measures may be brought in where people aren’t practicing social distancing.

    It comes as a male in the east of the country has become the fourth person to die from the coronavirus.

    906 people now have Covid 19 here.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet tomorrow to consider if stricter measures are necessary.

    HSE chief executive Paul Reid says people must take personal responsibility when it comes to social distancing:

    Gardai in the midlands are advising people that the car parks in Glenbarrow, Slieve Bloom Mountains are now closed until further notice due to social distancing. 

    They are asking the public to  avoid locations that may attract large crowds.

    Their warning comes after Wicklow County Council has shut the section of parking it's responsible for at Glendalough, in an attempt to assist social distancing measures.

    06.32 - Exams:

    The Junior and Leaving Cert are still going ahead in June.

    But the Department of Education's working on contingency plans in case it has to postpone the state exams.

    ASTI president Deirdre McDonald has this advice for students:

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    Stay safe out there! “Hands... washing hands..” 🎶

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    06.00 - McDonalds:

    Every McDonalds restaurant on the island of Ireland will shut its doors by seven o'clock this evening.

    The company's posted on social media saying it's making the move to protect staff and customers.

    Five days ago the chain said it would serve takeaway meals only during the COVID-19 pandemic - but will now shut completely.






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