New restrictions will come into force in Ireland from midnight where people have been urged to stay at home and only attend work if it is considered essential.
The Government announced more measures in a press briefing this afternoon to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Ireland.
All non-essential retail outlets are to close to the public from midnight tonight. It’s in a bid to allow the health service deal with the expected increase in the number of cases in the coming weeks.
All previous measures announced by the government have been extended to Sunday April 19th.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says people should only head out for essential supplies and other limited reasons.
Groups of four or more people are not to gather unless they are from the same household.
Meanwhile, all organised indoor and outdoor events of any size are not to take place. Gardai will be ensuring that people obey these measures and also comply with social distancing guidelines.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says the new powers afforded to the Gardai will be used sparingly.
The State is to take full control of every private hospital in the country for the duration of the Covid 19 emergency.
Private hospitals will operate as public ones, which the government says will add 2,000 beds and free up nine laboratories to cope with the rising numbers of coronavirus patients.
Health Minister Simon Harris says we can’t have a public versus private healthcare system during the crisis:
Workers who have lost their job as a result of the coronavirus will now get 350 euro per week.
A Wage Subsidy Scheme will also be put in place aimed at encouraging employers to keep workers on their payroll.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe says the scheme will be available to business who have experienced a 25 per cent decline in turnover.
The social welfare measures announced by the government will cost an estimated € 3.7 billion over 12 weeks. Pascal Donohoe confirms that they will need to borrow to fund the measures. They will lapse after 12 weeks – in the middle of June