On what he described as a St Patrick’s Day like no other, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said now was the time for the nation to come together, saying ‘we are all in this together’.
In a live address to the nation, the Taoiseach described the outbreak as “a global pandemic, the likes of which we have never seen before”.
“We can’t stop the virus, but we can stop it in its tracks,” he said adding for the need to avoid “close human contact”.
Mr Varadkar said that the number of cases of Covid-19 in Ireland is expected to rise to 15,000 by the end of the month with the Covid-19 likely to emergency is likely to go on beyond March 29.
He said that the Covid-19 emergency could go on until the summer.
In what the government is calling cocooning, Mr Varadkar said that at a certain point elderly and people with a long term illness will be advised to stay at home for several weeks and systems are being put in place to make sure these people have food supplies, and are checked on.
He said that it is a vital step in order to protect “the most vulnerable, most precious in our society”.
“I know it’s going to be very difficult to stay away from our loved ones. Most grandparents just want to give their grandkids a hug and a kiss around about now, but as hard as it is, we need to keep our physical distance to stop the virus,” he said.
He asked the public to make sure that those living alone are not left alone and advised people to check in on their neighbours by phoning them.
More to follow