Covid-19 cases increase by 54 in Ireland, with another 355 new cases expected by Sunday

The Department of Health has revealed that there are another 54 coronavirus cases in Ireland.

At its press briefing this evening, the department said 41 are in the east, 11 are in the south and two are in the north/west of the country.

They said that 30 of the new cases are male, 24 female. It brings the total number of cases to 223.

The number of deaths remains the same at two.

The Department of Health model projections forecast around 78 new confirmed cases tomorrow, another 109 on Wednesday and another 355 by Sunday.

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer with the HSE, said: “We are working closely with ICGP to manage the rapid increase in requests for testing.

If you think you have symptoms of Covid-19, self isolate and phone your GP, who will assess your need for a test.

"We ask people to be patient as we increase the number of staff and testing centres to accommodate the increase requirement for testing.”

There are now five hospital sites around the country (in addition to the NVRL) providing testing.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team today decided:

  • All Irish residents are advised against all non-essential travel overseas at this time until 29th March.
  • All persons, including Irish residents, entering the country from overseas should restrict movements for 14 days, if asymptomatic. This does not apply to Northern Ireland.
  • NPHET strongly recommends against leisure cruise ship travel.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with Department of Health, said: “The behaviours we adopt in the next seven days will form the template for how we interrupt the spread of this virus over the coming months.

"We need to sustain social distancing, respiratory hygiene and these new ways of behaving if we are to succeed in minimising the threat posed by Covid-19."

Dr Holohan said "we don't anticipate saying we'll go back to normal on the 29 March", before adding "we're not recommending lockdown."

He said a "full-scale lockdown would be a disproportionate response" to the virus.

He added: "We need the vast majority of people to follow most of the recommendations most of the time. We think that's a reasonable response.

"It would be easy to recommend every airport, workplace, every part of society to close, that might reduce the spread of the virus but it would be a disproportionate response"

The department revealed that research published today by Amárach has shown that 84% of the population know the symptoms of Covid-19, more than three quarters (78%) are staying at home more often and 45% of all employees have started working from home.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024