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Coronavirus Ireland: Six patients with COVID-19 now in intensive care at Irish hospitals

Six patients with coronavirus are now in intensive care in Irish hospitals, the Department of Health have confirmed.

It comes after the department announced this evening that 27 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland.

It brings the number of cases in the country to 70.

Two of the new cases were caused by community transmission, while three were associated with travel.

22 of the cases were associated with local transmission.

While three of these cases are currently in ICU, bringing the total in ICU to six.

Patients on trolleys (stock image)

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, said: “The ECDC have now advised early, decisive, rapid, coordinated and comprehensive implementation of social distancing measures. Ireland has today responded to this advice.

“NPHET will meet again this evening to continue to review Ireland’s response to COVID-19. Today’s measures are in place until March 29 and will be updated where necessary.”

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer added: “If we do nothing, the number of cases will increase rapidly and challenge our healthcare services.

“We need to flatten the curve – to slow transmission, to reduce the total number of cases and spread the number of cases out over a longer period of time.”

Earlier today it was confirmed schools, third level colleges and childcare facilities were to close across Ireland from 6pm on Thursday as fears over coronavirus grow and Ireland enters “uncharted territory”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made a formal announcement from Washington, where he is on a St Patrick’s Day visit.

He announced restrictions as Ireland enters a new phase in the battle against coronavirus and said: “We have not witnessed a pandemic of this nature in living memory.”

He added: “We said we would take the right actions at the right time and we have to move now to have the greatest impact.”

The restrictions officially come into force at 6pm today and will last until March 29.

All indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor gatherings of over 500 people should be cancelled.

Businesses have also been asked to facilitate remote working for employees where possible. Break times should be staggered and meetings should be done remotely if possible.

Ireland’s ports and airports have NOT been closed – anyone travelling through them will be informed and told to self isolate if they show symptoms.

Public transport will continue to operate and shops and restaurants can stay open.

People have generally been asked to limit social interactions and continue washing their hands and coughing or sneezing into their elbow or a tissue and seeking medical advice if they show symptoms.

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