Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has just made a major announcement about the impact of Covid-19 on life in Ireland
Less than 24 hours after the World Health Organisation elevated the Covid-19 outbreak to a global pandemic, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has made a highly anticipated speech about its impact on people in Ireland.
The virus has already been reported in more than 118,000 people across 114 countries, with 4,291 of those cases resulting in death.
Speaking from Washington DC, where he is due to meet with President Donald Trump, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said there will be major restrictions on schools and public facilities across the country.
"I need to speak to you about coronavirus and Covid-19.
"We’ve been preparing for all eventualities.
"There will be many more cases, more people will get sick and we must face the tragic reality that more people will die.
"But it can be slowed. We know that older people and those with a chronic illness are at real risk.
"We have not witnessed a pandemic of this nature in living memory.
"We said we would take the right action at the right time. We have to move now to make the greatest impact.
"From 6 pm today, the following measures are being put in place and will stay in place until March 29: schools, colleges and childcare facilities will close from tomorrow. Where possible, teaching will be done online or remotely.
"Cultural institutions will close as well. Our advice is that all indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor mass gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled.
"You should continue to go to work if you can, but where possible, you should work from home. In order to reduce unnecessary interaction in the workplace, working times should be staggered and meetings done remotely or by phone.
"Public transport will continue to operate and shops will remain open. We have plans to ensure supply chains are not interrupted. Restaurants, cafes and other businesses will remain open but should implement public health advice on social distancing.
"And as a general rule, outside of work, people should seek to reduce social interactions as much as possible.
"You can all play your part by hand washing and coughing into tissues, and seeking medical advice if you develop symptoms.
"Our healthcare workers will be at the frontline of the crisis in the time ahead.
"This will come as a shock. I know I’m asking people to make enormous sacrifices. But acting together we can save many lives.
"In time, our lives will go back to normal. We need to look out for each other. We have overcome many struggles in the past and once again, we will prevail."
Leo Varadkar's statement about Covid-19 comes after President Donald Trump announced a travel ban between the United States and 26 European countries.
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