The St Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin is still set to go ahead despite the Coronavirus outbreak.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed on Friday afternoon after a COVID-19 stakeholder meeting that the government had no plans to limit mass gatherings.
“In terms of events, we’re not recommending that any major events be cancelled, but that of course will be kept under review,” Mr Varadkar said.
Patrick’s day is still on. Ireland still in containment phase but inevitable more people will catch Coronavirus, says Leo Varadkar. pic.twitter.com/inwE7AudCk— aoife moore. (@aoifegracemoore) March 6, 2020
”We’d also ask people not to act unilaterally, whether that's school principals or creche owners or business owners or event organisers, that causes problems in itself.
“We need to act in concert and if the response needs to be escalated we escalate all together.“
Concerns have also been flagged about the ability of hospitals to respond of Ireland’s situation gets worse.
Mr Varadkar said that the government were looking into having some retired medical staff come out of retirement in order to help relieve pressure on staff.
Mr Varadkar also said that suggestions such as banning flights from affected areas have proved to be ineffective and Ireland would not be implementing them.
“If you look at the kind of measures we are putting in place in Ireland, they’re very similar to those being put in place in the United Kingdom, or other countries that have many more cases than we do,” he added.
“We are in a different situation to northern Italy or China. What we are doing is very similar to what's happening in other European countries.”
Ireland was still that “in containment phase” on Friday with 13 confirmed cases and Mr Varadkar along with Chief Medical Officer Tony Houlohan moved to calm fears about Ireland’s reaction to the issue.
“All of the measures that are appropriate to this country, in relation to this to the pattern of disease that we're in, are there,” he said.
Mr Varadkar said “as of now” he will go ahead with his travel plans to attend America next week. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has cancelled her visit due to a Coronavirus outbreak at her children’s school.
Earlier: 'We are not recommending at this stage that any major events be cancelled'
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said mass public gatherings such as St Patrick’s Day parades will not be cancelled amid the spread of Covid-19.
Speaking following a stakeholder meeting with health officials on Friday, he said: “We are not recommending at this stage that any major events be cancelled but this of course will be kept under review.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan did acknowledge that it is a “fast-changing situation”.
Dr Holohan said that Ireland is “doing things suitable to our country”.
Regarding his tradition trip to the United States for St Patrick’s Day, the Taoiseach said he still plans on travelling on Tuesday but he is continuing to “monitor the situation”.
The Taoiseach said that measures being taken in Ireland are similar to UK and other European countries that have more cases of Covid-19.
“Our situation is different to northern Italy and China,” Mr Varadkar said.
Mr Varadkar also said that there would be clarity regarding income support for people who have to self-isolate on Monday.
“We want to make sure that nobody who is given medical advice and is told to self-isolate doesn't do so for fear of financial loss,” he said.
- 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 - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999