Ireland to Close Academic, Childcare Institutions in Response to Coronavirus

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
March 12, 2020UK
Ireland to Close Academic, Childcare Institutions in Response to Coronavirus
Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar looks during a press conference during an European Union Summit at European Union Headquarters in Brussels on October 17, 2019. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced that the country will close all of its schools, colleges, and daycare facilities as a way to contain the new coronavirus, according to a press conference held at Washington DC.

“Schools, colleges, and childcare facilities will close from [Friday, March 13], where possible teaching will be done online or remotely. Cultural institutions will be closed as well,” Varadkar stated, during the conference.

Varadkar also advised that large gatherings will also be cancelled. Varadkar specified that these large gatherings referred to indoor gatherings of more than 100 people as well as outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people, according to the conference.

“Our own national public health emergency team met [on Wednesday night], and has issued new advice for government. We’re acting on that advice today,” Varadkar stated.

In addition, the prime minister stated that all of the country’s cultural institutions will also be closed.

He stated that measures are being implemented in airports whereby all individuals entering Ireland’s important airports are being informed and should self-isolate if they develop symptoms of the virus.

“You should continue to go to work if you can, but where possible, you should work from home. And in order to reduce unnecessary face-to-face interactions in the workplace, break times and working times should be staggered, and meetings done remotely or by phone,” Varadkar said.

The Prime Minister stated that public transportation and shops will still operate, but the government has plans to make sure supply chains won’t be interrupted.

“We need public and businesses to take sensible, level-headed, and responsible approach during this difficult time. Restaurants, cafes, and other businesses can stay open but look at ways to implement public health advice and social distancing. And as a general rule, outside of work, people should seek to reduce social interaction as much as possible,” Varadkar stated.

The prime minister stressed the importance of personal hygiene, such as washing hands, sneezing into the elbow or tissues, and to help reduce the spread by seeking medical help should an individual develop symptoms.

“We’ve not witnessed a pandemic of this nature in living memory, and this is uncharted territory for us. We said we would take the right actions at the right time, and we have to move now to have the greatest impact. So from 6 pm [on Friay], the following measures are being put in place. And they will stay in place until the 29th of March,” Varadkar stated.

Varadkar stated that Ireland will use all of its resources, human or financial, to combat this issue.

Experts recommend frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, regularly cleaning surfaces and objects, and not touching one’s face with unwashed hands.

People who become ill should stay at home and contact their doctor or health authorities. Depending on their symptoms, they may be asked to stay isolated at home. If symptoms are severe or, in some other cases, patients will be quarantined at hospitals.

Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

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