Ireland’s First Minister, Leo Varadkar, has announced that all schools, colleges and childcare facilities will close from 6pm on Thursday 12 March until 29 March in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The announcement came after a meeting with the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on Wednesday evening.
Varadkar stated that “this is a time when we all need to work together, to do the right thing for each other and for our country. We are asking people to come together as a nation by staying apart from each other.”
The announcement follows the closure of several schools and colleges in recent days after students and staff members tested positive for the virus. The decision to close all schools and colleges was made in an effort to slow the spread of the virus and to protect vulnerable members of society.
The government has also advised against mass gatherings of more than 100 people indoors and 500 people outdoors. This will have a significant impact on events such as St. Patrick’s Day parades, which have been cancelled in several cities across the country.
In addition, the government has urged people to work from home where possible and to avoid unnecessary travel. Public transport will continue to operate, but passengers are advised to take precautions such as washing their hands regularly and covering their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing.
The decision to close schools and colleges has been met with mixed reactions. Some have praised the government for taking decisive action to protect public health, while others have expressed concern about the impact on students’ education and the ability of parents to work.
The closure of schools and colleges will also have a significant impact on childcare facilities, with many parents now facing the challenge of finding alternative arrangements for their children.
The government has stated that it will provide financial support to businesses affected by the closures, including childcare providers. It has also announced a range of measures to support workers who may be impacted by the virus, including a new illness benefit payment for those who are required to self-isolate.
The announcement comes as the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ireland continues to rise. As of 11 March, there were 43 confirmed cases in the country, with more expected in the coming days.
The decision to close schools and colleges is part of a broader strategy to slow the spread of the virus and to protect vulnerable members of society. The government has urged people to take the threat of the virus seriously and to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and others.
In conclusion, the closure of schools, colleges and childcare facilities in Ireland is a significant measure taken by the government to slow the spread of the coronavirus. While the decision has been met with mixed reactions, it is clear that the priority must be to protect public health and to support vulnerable members of society. The government has announced a range of measures to support businesses and workers affected by the closures, and has urged people to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and others.