Ireland Announces Move to ‘Delay Phase’ as Education Institutes Close
Ireland has become the latest EU nation to announce the closure of all schools, third-level institutes and childcare facilities in a bid to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.
The announcement to close all educational and public facilities from 6pm this evening until March 29th was made by Ireland’s Acting Prime Minister, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Ireland currently has 43 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and yesterday reported its first death as a result of the virus.
Speaking from Washington, where Mr. Varadkar is attending pared back St. Patrick’s Day events, he said that the Government was working on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team, informed by the World Health Organisation.
The Government had come under criticism domestically, at the speed at which it was responding to the spread of the virus. However, Mr. Varadkar said the actions of Government were about ‘making the right interventions at the right time, for the right length of time, because anything else would be counterproductive.’
Making the announcement he said people can continue to go to work, but where possible should work from home. Indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor gatherings of over 500 people are to be cancelled. Public transport is to continue.
Shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes are to remain open but Mr. Varadkar warned people to limit their social interactions.
He did not reference the announcement made by US President Donald Trump banning travel between EU countries in the bloc’s Shengen-free travel zone. Ireland is not included in the travel ban. The 30 -day ban comes into effect on Friday.
The European Commission issued a statement condemning the move, saying, ‘The Coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action.
The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation.’
European stock markets slumped again this morning in the wake of the announcement amidst fears that Europe is headed towards a recession.
The Dublin ISEQ Index dropped by 6.4% following the announcement relating to the new measures to be implemented in Ireland.
A number of countries across the EU have closed their educational institutes and public facilities. Italy was the first to make the move, which has since been followed by Germany, France, Denmark and Poland amongst others.
Italy today announced additional measures including the closure of all bars, restaurants and shops with the exception of food shops and pharmacies. Italy remains the country most affected by the virus outside of China and to date has introduced the most stringent measures in the EU to stem its spread.
(Image by elliotharmon via creativecommons.org)