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Coronavirus Ireland Latest Updates: 2km exercise limit extended to 5km and over 70s allowed brief periods outside of home

Independent.ie reporters keeping you up to date with the latest coronavirus news in Ireland and across the world.

17:30 2/04/2020

25 more deaths and 343 new cases of Coronavirus in Ireland

Another 25 people have died of Covid-19 in Ireland, according to the latest figures released this evening.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre said it has been notified of another 343 cases of the virus, bringing the total number to 21,176.

To date, 1,286 deaths in Ireland have been linked to Covid-19.

The HSE is working to identify any contacts the patients may have had to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

1:35 2/04/2020

Government announces financial plan to reboot economy

Government ministers announced more financial measures today costing up to €6.5bn over the coming years to help “re-boot” the Irish economy.

The measures are:

  • A €10,000 restart grant for micro and small businesses based on a rates/waiver rebate from 2019;
  • A three month commercial rates waiver for impacted businesses;
  • A €2 billion Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund within the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), which will make capital available to medium and large enterprises on commercial terms;
  • A €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to support lending to SMEs for terms ranging from 3 months to 6 years, which will be below market interest rates;
  • The ‘warehousing’ of tax liabilities for a period of twelve months after recommencement of trading during which time there will be no debt enforcement action taken by Revenue and no interest charge accruing in respect of the warehoused debt;
  • A commitment to local authorities to make up the rates shortfall, so that local authorities can continue provide full services to the public.

1:30 2/04/2020

Gardai report high compliance with restrictions as Operation Fanacht continues over May bank holiday weekend

Gardai conducting checkpoints across the country this bank holiday weekend has seen a high compliance with travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.

An extensive network of checkpoints are being manned by gardai across the country over the May bank holiday weekend.

More than 2,500 gardai will be involved in checkpoints or high-visibility patrolling to persuade the public to comply with the 2km movement restrictions as part of Operation Fanacht.

12:00 2/04/2020

Virus clusters in six meat plants spark concern for food supply

Concerns have been raised that meat plants could emerge as black spots for Covid-19 infections after employees at a number of factories tested positive for the virus.

The Agriculture Minister confirmed in the Dáil that his department was aware of six clusters in the sector.

It is feared a larger shutdown of plants, as seen in the US, could have a significant impact on the food supply chain and would devastate the incomes of livestock farmers already reeling from the closure of key markets abroad.

TD Paul Murphy warned in the Dáil this week that meat factories and other workplaces could follow nursing homes in becoming the next big Covid-19 clusters.

Meat factories here say beef processing is down 20-30pc due to market disruption and the loss of demand from European foodservice markets.

9:00 2/04/2020

Russia reports spike in coronavirus cases as other countries ease restrictions

Russia has reported its highest one-day jump in new coronavirus cases as some other countries relax lockdown restrictions.

China, where the pandemic began in December, reported a single new infection on Saturday, extending a steady decline in confirmed cases.

Russia’s government reported 7,933 new cases on Friday, raising its total to 114,431. The true number is believed to be higher because not everyone is tested and Russian tests are reported to be only 70% to 80% accurate.

08:10 2/04/2020

Regulator wants banks prepared for arrears spike

Banks will be expected to assess well in advance the likelihood of borrowers not being able to return to full debt repayment after an up to six-month payment break, including looking at the effect of the Covid-19 crisis on different sectors of the economy.

Loan loss provisions for the first quarter of the year are expected to be well up on last year, and likely to be higher still for the second quarter of the year which started on April 1st and falls entirely within the lockdown period.

It is understood the Central Bank will monitor the provisions banks make for estimated losses stemming from the Covid-19 shut down to include taking a view on the medium-term effect the crisis may have on house prices and jobs. That’s despite the fact borrowers getting a payment break won’t be classed as non-performing or problem accounts.

08:00 2/04/2020

Guidance on wearing face coverings due within two weeks

The public will be given guidance on the wearing of face coverings in public in two weeks at the end of this lockdown phase, chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said last night.

He emphasised they are coverings, rather than medical-grade face masks, and said they might be used when travelling on public transport or in shops.

“We are not saying to rush out and use them now.

“We are working up on guidance in the next two weeks,” he added.

08:00 2/04/2020

The full plan: How we exit lockdown

A five-phase exit strategy has been unveiled by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who last night warned: “It will take some time for our lives to get back to normal.” But he insisted: “It will happen.”

With the country facing into another bank holiday weekend under lockdown, Mr Varadkar announced that older people who have been cocooning can leave their homes for short periods from next week.

However, they are advised to keep cocooning and avoid contact with anyone when they leave their homes. Over-70s will not be permitted visitors to their homes or to go to shops until the start of June.

Schools will remain closed until September – except for Leaving Cert exams. Crèches, childminders and pre-schools for children of essential workers will be opened on June 29 and all the aforementioned will be reopened for all workers on July 20.

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