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Harris Commandeers Private Hospitals

The Government today announced new nationwide restrictions, but the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, was quick to point out that these measures were not a “lockdown”.

Among today’s briefings, Minister for Health Simon Harris stated that all patients with Covid-19 would be treated for free as part of a single national services with no public and private.

Which means that the State will be taking control of private hospitals for the duration of the emergency.

Varadkar also said that both the Covid-19 unemployment payment and the self isolation payment will each be raised to €350 per week. The Taoiseach pointed out that the impact on the economy and employment due to the Covid-19 outbreak will be enormous.

Minister for Finance Pashal Donohoe said that the Covid-19 financial measures are likely to cost €3.7b over a 12-week period, whilst Minister for Business Heather Humphreys stated that the economic landscape in Ireland has been “utterly transformed” by the virus. On record as saying that 400,000 jobs could be lost, today, Humphreys said that she now believes that this is a “conservative figure”.

Hotels will now have to limit capacity, whilst all theatres, clubs, gyms, hairdressers, betting shops, markets and libraries are to close, whilst cafes and restaurants should limit themselves to takeaways.

Also announced today was the extension of school and childcare facilities closures to April 19th, whilst all sporting events – even those indoorsare cancelled.

The new measures are due to come into effect from midnight tonight. You can find out more about Covid-19 – including the local response – here.

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