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Taoiseach announces range of new restrictions

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced that everybody must stay at home until Easter Sunday except in certain circumstances including food shopping, vital family reasons and to attend medical appointments.

From midnight tonight, individuals are advised to take brief individual physical exercise within two kilometers of homes.

Mr Varadkar also confirmed that one of the patients who died from the coronavirus today was a healthcare worker.

The nurse worked in the east of the country.

Mr Varadkar was joined by Health Minister Simon Harris and Tony Holohan Chief Medical Officer, at the Government Buildings tonight to give an update on the Government response to Covid-19.

This is the third set of restrictive measures introduced by the Government this month, and comes as the number of coronavirus cases is beginning to surge.

Earlier on Friday, the National Public Health Emergency Team announced that three more people have died from the coronavirus in Ireland, taking the country’s death toll to 22.

The patients who passed away were a person in the north-west of the country and two females in the east.

The number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus has risen again by 302, bringing the toll to 2,121 in the Republic of Ireland.

The Department of Health said there has been another rise in the numbers of very ill patients admitted to intensive care.

There are now 59 patients in intensive care units across the country who are severely ill from the virus. This includes 79 clusters involving 317 cases, with the median age of confirmed cases at 46 years.

Earlier on Friday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that deaths from the coronavirus in Ireland will only increase over the next two to four weeks and that it will be a “very pleasant surprise” if the toll is kept below 1,000.

The Taoiseach said the death toll is “impossible to predict” as the virus is new and “we’re only still learning about it”.

“If you take the average flu season in Ireland, there’ll be roughly 500 deaths. If you take a bad flu season in Ireland, there’d be roughly 1,000 deaths.

“So it would be a surprise, and a very pleasant surprise if the number of deaths at the end of this is less than 1,000,” Mr Varadkar said.

Mr Varadkar also warned that Ireland’s intensive care units will be at capacity “in a number of days”.

“The way things are heading indicate that ICU will be at capacity in a number of days,” Mr Varadkar said.

“That’s already the case around Europe, it may happen here. We have to plan for that.

“We need to make sure we have capacity, ventilators, all of those things.

“An unprecedented effort is being made by the health service to tool up, to recruit, to provide additional capacity, to do all the things we need to use.

“Just as we are seeing across Europe, just as we are seeing in the US now, just as we saw in China, there isn’t a health service in the world that isn’t going to be able to tool up or scale up as quickly as necessary, so we are going to be demanding a very difficult situation and everyone is going to be doing the very best job.”

From The Irish Independent.