Taoiseach adresses COVID-19 pandemic in Ministerial Broadcast

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IRELAND’S number of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases is expected to rise to more than 15,000 by the end of the month and “rise further in the weeks thereafter”, according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Speaking in a national address, the Taoiseach said the vast majority of people who will contract the virus will experience a “mild illness” but noted many will be hospitalised and some will die.

The Taoiseach called on the nation to adhere to the rules of social distancing, noting “we cannot stop the virus, but working together we can slow it in its tracks, and push it back”.

In the address he said this can only be achieved if people take “sustained action”, saying “nothing less will do”.

After calling on people to “reduce close human contact” by cancelling social gatherings and events, he said, “all resources we have – financial and human – are being deployed to serve this great national effort.”

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The Taoiseach said the emergency is likely to go on past March 29, and noted it “could go onto the months in the summer. So we need to be sensible in the approaches we take”.

He said at a point Government will advise the elderly and those with longterm illnesses to “stay at home for several weeks” in what he labelled “cocooning”.

He said, “We are putting in place the systems to make sure that if you’re one of them, you will have food supplies and are checked on.”

“It will save many lives,” he said, adding, “particularly the lives of the most vulnerable, the most precious in our society.”

View the full conference here on RTÉ News.