Coronavirus: Ireland all schools, colleges and childcare facilities to close until March 29

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Measures to combat spread of Covid-19 to begin this evening and last until March 29th

Schools, colleges and other public facilities are set to close in the Republic from this evening for at least two weeks in response to the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking from Washington DC on Thursday Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the measures being announced today would remain in place until March 29th and would be kept under review.

NEW MEASURES

  • Schools, crèches, childcare facilities and all higher level education facilities to close
  • Cultural institutions to close
  • Indoor gatherings of more than 100 people should be cancelled
  • Outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled
  • People should continue to go to work, but those who can work from home should do so
  • Shops, cafes and restaurants to stay open
  • Measures begin at 6pm this evening and last until March 29th

From 6pm, schools, colleges and childcare facilities will close, Mr Varadkar said. Cultural institution will also close, he said.

The Government is also recommending that indoor gatherings of more than 100 people – and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people – be cancelled.

People should continue to go to work if they can, but those who are able to work from home should do so, he added.

Shops and supply chains will remain open, the Taoiseach said, and cafes and restaurants can remain open. He also said people should minimise social interaction where possible.

Public transport will continue to operate.

Mr Varadkar did not comment on the US travel ban announced last night. The ban applies to visitors from most European states, but not Ireland.

Speaking after the announcement, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said the measures being introduced were unprecedented in their scale and effect across society.

“Never before has such drastic action been taken in face of a public health threat,” he told a press briefing in Government Buildings.

No funeral services for coronavirus victims

Undertakers in Ireland are being urged to bury coronavirus victims immediately without a funeral service.

The Irish Association of Funeral Directors issued guidelines advising that funeral services for anyone who dies due to Covid-19 should be postponed and that the person be immediately buried or cremated to curb any risk of spreading the virus.

Other radical recommendations issued by the group included instructing that transport for families of the deceased, like limousines and saloons, should not be provided and that funeral instructions should only be given to undertakers over the phone.

The IAFD said it has been advised by the Dublin City Coroner that Covid-19 can last for several days after death and that until clear advice is provided by the relevant health authority, the IAFD recommended that all funeral directors should take extra precautions and follow the current hygiene guidelines.

Currently there are 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ireland but as there are no confirmed deaths, the measures have not been put in place yet.

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