Coronavirus: Govt 'sensitive to external economic conditions' if parades cancelled

The government is as of yet not advising that this month's St Patrick's Day parades or other large public events be cancelled.

Coronavirus: Govt 'sensitive to external economic conditions' if parades cancelled

The country is preparing for an economic slowdown from the impacts of the coronavirus and amid a “fast-evolving situation” authorities may ramp up measures to battle the virus if more people fall ill.

Nonetheless, the government is as of yet not advising that this month's St Patrick's Day parades or other large public events be cancelled.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe warned Cabinet colleagues that Ireland is “sensitive to external economic conditions”.

While it is too early to say exactly how the economy would be hit, Mr Donohoe told ministers that a global slowdown in growth is likely to have “negative consequences for the Irish growth, the labour market and public finances,” government sources confirmed.

Mr Donohoe will discuss the greater impact of the virus with EU counterparts today. The government will also draw up estimates for any slowdown when it updates the EU on budgetary plans next month.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said a “slowdown in global growth would most likely be a blip, a slowdown in growth that would rebound or bounce back”.

He said any impacts on Ireland's economy would depend on what happened in China as that country made up 10% of global trade and 20% of the world's GDP.

But he also outlined how health authorities could alter policies in the days ahead if more people fall ill.

But there is a moderate to high risk of more cases. A small percentage of those people may get very sick.

"But it is important to bear in mind that at this stage we only have one confirmed case in Ireland and that case was an imported case.

“So the actions that you see taking place in other countries, are not necessary in Ireland at this stage. So there will be no panic but there will also be no complacency.”

Coronavirus: 'Fast evolving situation' will be reviewed on day-to-day basis, Varadkar says

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that the policy of containment with the spread of coronavirus may change to one of mitigation in the weeks ahead.

Following a Cabinet meeting, he said it is a “fast evolving situation” and it will be reviewed on a day-by-day basis.

Minister for Education Joe McHugh with Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar with Minister for Health Simon Harris talking to the media in Government Buildings about the Covid-19 coronavirus. <span class="contextmenu emphasis">Picture: RollingNews.ie</span>
Minister for Education Joe McHugh with Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar with Minister for Health Simon Harris talking to the media in Government Buildings about the Covid-19 coronavirus. Picture: RollingNews.ie

However, ministers have agreed that large public gatherings, including this month's St Patrick's Day parade, should not be cancelled.

Ministers today were also briefed about the economic impacts of the virus and its spread around the globe.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told colleagues at the meeting that the spread of coronavirus could impact on economic growth. However, this would be a "blip" and the economy would "bounce back".

Education Minister Joe McHugh said health authorities are liaising with schools and that guidance has been issued to them about what to do in the event of any suspected cases of the virus.

A special Cabinet sub-committee on the virus will meet next Monday to again assess developments.

Mr Varadkar stressed that there has only been one infection here. But he admitted that a policy of “containment” may develop in the coming weeks to “mitigation” if patients need to be treated.

He also said that guidelines and criteria for mass gatherings are being considered. When asked about the St Patrick's Day parade on March 17, he said the government is currently “not advising anyone to cancel gatherings”.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.