Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.jpg

Schools, Colleges, Childcare facilties to close- Covid-19


From 6pm today (Thursday, March 12), schools, colleges and childcare facilities will close as the country attempts to try and contain any further spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Furthermore, its been recommended that mass gatherings of more than 100 people, and outdoor mass gatherings of more than 500 people, should now be cancelled.

The measures will remain in effect until March 29.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made the major announcement in a statement delivered to media in Washington DC, where he is on the St Patrick’s Day visit to the United States.

The Taoiseach said the National Public Health Emergency Team met last night, and as a result, have updated the guidelines for the general public.

The Taoiseach claimed that for most people infection would be “mild”, but for older people and particularly those with underlying health conditions, the situation could be more serious. He said the reality was that there will be many more cases of Covid-19, and the country must face the tragic fact that more people may die.

Mr Varadkar urged the public and businesses to take a “sensible” approach, with an appeal to businesses to try and help facilitate remote working for employees where possible.

He noted that the economy would suffer as a result of the containment measures, but suggested “we can bounce back.”

The Taoiseach has finished his briefing without taking any further questions from the media.

It comes as the head of the World Health Organization described the new coronavirus outbreak as “a controllable pandemic” if countries do act now and step up measures to try and contain or tackle the spread

“We are deeply concerned that some countries are not approaching this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The announcement comes a day after the first death from coronavirus was recorded in Ireland.

Since the spread of the virus continued at pace across Europe, the general public has been advised to limit social interactions such as shaking hands.

US president Donald Trump has meanwhile announced a 30-day ban on all non-US travellers entering America from Europe, with some exceptions.

Ireland – as well as Romania, Bulgaria and Britain – are not included in the ban.

At the latest WHO count, there are currently more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have died.


Statement by An Taoiseach

The following measures will come into effect from tomorrow until 29 March:

Where it is possible to work remotely people should do so. Public transport will continue and shops will continue to remain open.

Mr Varadkar said we need the public and businesses to take a sensible approach.