‘We need to persevere”
That was the message from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this afternoon as he announced a three-week extension to Ireland’s Covid-19 restrictions on movement.
Speaking at a media briefing on the latest Covid-19 advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) the Taoiseach confirmed the restrictions will be extended until May 5th, 2020, but there are no guarantees that will be enough to halt the spread of the virus.
The Taoiseach also said that, when restrictions are eventually lifted, they may be reimposed if the number of cases of Covid-19 begins to rise again.
“I know that many people are feeling frustrated, captive.” he said.
“I know the fine weather makes that harder. I know it’s very difficult but every sacrifice is helping to save lives.”
The latest figures show a record number of new cases, with 500 more people diagnosed with coronavirus and a further 28 deaths recorded in the 24 hours before Thursday, bringing the overall death toll so far to 263.
Today’s meeting, attended by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris, was chaired by the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.
Quoting Seamus Heaney, the Taoiseach said: “If we winter this one out, we can summer anywhere,”
“People are wondering when life will get back to normal. We are working toward that, planning carefully, so we get there safely. No one knows for certain when that will be, or how our lives will be different. All we can do is take one day at a time”.
Junior Certificate exams cancelled
The Department of Education has announced that the Junior Certificate has been cancelled and the Leaving Certificate has been postponed until July or August 2020.
Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh said “There is no perfect solution. But I believe this is the fairest decision we could take.”
Today I have taken a series of decisions in relation to schools and the state exams.
There is no perfect solution. But I believe this is the fairest decision we could take.
— Joe McHugh (@McHughJoeTD) April 10, 2020
The decision will create an issue with the CAO process and delay the start of the school year in September.
Earlier today, chair of the National Virus Reference Laboratory coronavirus expert advisory group, Dr Cillian De Gascun, said that continued restrictions were essential because “given the opportunity, this virus will run rampant”.
Temporary accommodation is being arranged for healthcare workers affected by COVID-19, with a local manager now taking care of referrals from Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs), hospital groups
National Ambulance Service (NAS) and private nursing homes.
We must support our healthcare staff who are working so incredibly hard to keep us all safe. @HSELive has a system in place for staff requiring temporary accommodation during this time. Take a read https://t.co/foKLzF1Rwq #coronavirus #Covid19
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) April 10, 2020
All healthcare workers can apply for temporary accommodation via the HSE website here.
‘Observe the NPHET recommendations’
Meanwhile, Lord Mayor of Cork and local GP Cllr John Sheehan wished everyone a happy and safe Easter weekend from his garden.
“It’s important that we observe NPHET recommendations and #stayhome this weekend,” he said in a short video posted to Twitter.
“It’s hard but by observing the guidelines we can defeat coronavirus.”