Varadkar: Objective is to flatten the curve

Varadkar: Objective is to flatten the curve

The Taoiseach says around half the population could be infected with Covid-19.

Speaking last night at a Department of Health briefing, Leo Varadkar said the HSE wants to avoid a spike that could overwhelm the health service.

54 new cases of coronavirus were also confirmed in the Republic bringing the total number to 223.

Two people have died from the illness.

Mr Varadkar said current increases cannot be stopped within the next few weeks.

"Half the population getting Covid-19 is accurate, that could certainly happen.

"For most people a very mild illness, for some a very serious one.

"The number of people who have Covid-19 will continue to rise every day, every week, for a couple of weeks. But the objective in a couple of weeks time is to flatten the curve then so that we don't have a single spike at the same time that would that would overwhelm the health service.

"But the total number of cases will be very, very high."

The Taoiseach said the economic impact of Covid-19 on the country will be “severe”.

Mr Varadkar said: “Unfortunately a lot of people are going to lose their jobs and businesses will have to close.”

“The economy is going to slow down dramatically but we are confident that it will bounce back.”

“Our first priority is to help people who have lost their jobs to get the social protection they need.”

He added that unemployment will rise here due to Covid-19 with up to 140,000 people estimated be out of work due to the pubs, bars and creches closing.

Tens of thousands of people will be laid off and we will see unemployment rising again to a level we haven’t seen in 13 or 14 years.

“I want to say to those people who have lost their jobs, support is there for you – whether you’re unemployed or self-employed,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said the Government will work hard to ensure measures will be taken so that people who have lost their jobs can pay their mortgages and rent.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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