Ireland enters 'delay phase' as confirmed Covid-19 cases hits 70

THE Department of Health has confirmed 27 new cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

A total of 22 cases are associated with local transmission, two are associated with community transmission and three are associated with travel. 

Three of these new cases are in ICU bringing the total patients currently in ICU to six.

A spokesperson said: "We have one confirmed death of COVID-19 in Ireland. There are now 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

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

"Today Ireland made the decision to move to Delay Phase."

Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, 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.

Delay phase is designed to interrupt the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, by advising reductions on social interactions.

"This phase requires a community effort, every citizen acting responsibly in order to protect our vulnerable and elderly members of society."

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said: “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.”