Shutdown could continue for ‘extended period’ as schools close after cases rise to 70.

GOVERNMENT coronavirus shutdown measures could continue for an "extended period of time" as schools close for two weeks after Covid-19 Irish cases rose to 70. Schools, colleges, childcare facilities, and cultural institutions will close until March 29.
And major visitor restrictions will be put in place in hospitals and prisons as events across the country are canceled. These measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 - of which 70 cases have been diagnosed here - could extend past the March 29 date, Ireland's top doctor has said. The measures - which include indoor and outdoor gatherings of over 100 and over 500 people respectively - are meant to stay in place until March 29 - but may be in place for longer. Speaking at the Covid-19 update briefing on Thursday night, Ireland's Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has said that some of the measures implemented "may need to be in place for an extended period of time".
UNDER REVIEW
While Holohan could not specify which measures and for how long, he said that the shutdown measures will be "reviewed again before we get to the end of the month".A further 27 patients have tested positive for the coronavirus, it was confirmed tonight, bringing the total in the Republic to 70 and the total island tally to 90. It is the biggest hike in confirmed cases in one day since the deadly virus was detected here last month. Of today's confirmed cases 22 are associated with local transmission, two are associated with community transmission and three are associated with travel.
COUNTRYWIDE SHUTDOWN
Three of the new cases have been placed in ICU, bringing the total number of patients in ICU to six. There is still just one confirmed death in Ireland - an elderly woman who passed away in the east of the country yesterday. The country has been in lockdown since 6pm this evening in an effort to combat the spread of the disease.Holohan further explained that the decisions were made under the advice that closures are more effective in slowing down the virus than delayed implementation.
TOUGH ACTION
He said: "We took into account the advice from the European Centre for Disease Control in relation to social distancing measure which was made available yesterday."In that advice, they made clear that a set of Covid cases outside of known chains of transmissions a strong signal that social distancing measures should be considered."And that the early, decisive, rapid and coordinated efforts of implementation of closures and quarantines are likely to be more effective in slowing down the virus than a delayed implementation."It was on that basis that we made the following recommendations, that individuals who have symptoms should self isolate for a period of 14 days, individuals should reduce discretionary social contact as much as possible, elderly and or medically vulnerable people should reduce as much as possible contacts from outside of the home."Meanwhile, senior Gardai who were due to step down from their roles on April 1 have been asked to remain with the force because of the Covid 19 crisis.
Post offices are set to remain open during the lockdown. Irish postal chiefs said that they were monitoring the situation regarding the spread of Covid-19 infections but that office would remain open and services would operate as normal. An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has urged panic bulk buyers to take a "sensible and level-headed responsible approach" as people rushed to stockpile supplies after the measures were announced. All officers who accepted the garda severance scheme can now continue in their role for the next three months.