Coronavirus: First death recorded in Republic of Ireland

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The first death linked to coronavirus has been recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

The elderly woman died in a Dublin hospital, where she was being treated for Covid-19, on Wednesday.

It is understood that the patient had an underlying respiratory condition and she had been admitted to hospital several days ago.

It comes as two new cases of the disease were confirmed in Northern Ireland, bringing the total to 18.

Both cases are adults and their transmissions can be traced to a previously reported case who had travelled from northern Italy.

Ten new cases have also been identified in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the total to 34.

Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said: “I would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of this patient.

“I urge the media and the public to respect their privacy at this difficult time.

“We continue our efforts to interrupt the transmission of this virus. It will take all of us, collectively, to succeed. Please continue to follow public health advice.”

There have been 246 tests for coronavirus in Northern Ireland, 228 have been negative.

Staff at the Public Health Agency are undertaking contact tracing for both of the new cases.

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann said the fact coronavirus had been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation did not change the government’s approach.

“That doesn’t change how we approach things here in Northern Ireland at this moment in time,” he told BBC Radio Ulster’s Evening Extra programme.

“The UK still remains at a moderate level, we remain in a containment phase.”

He added that plans are in place as to how the government moved to the next phase in the future.

Earlier, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster told the BBC’s Talkback programme that Stormont needed to “plan for the reasonable worst case scenario”.

“We will move upwards towards the peak. Just how long we can delay that peak into the summer, that’s what we are really trying to do,” she said.

“I don’t want to alarm anybody, but what I do want to say to people is that we are taking all the steps in a proportionate way, led by the science.”

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House of Commons

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The Chancellor said the NHS will receive whatever support it needed to deal with coronavirus

On Wednesday, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced extra support for healthcare and businesses in his Budget.

“Whatever extra resources our NHS needs to cope with Covid-19 – it will get,” he said.

“Whether it’s research for a vaccine, recruiting thousands of returning staff, or supporting our brilliant doctors and nurses… whether it’s millions of pounds or billions of pounds… whatever it needs, whatever it costs, we stand behind our NHS.”

He also detailed support for businesses with fewer than 250 employees, saying that government will fund Statutory Sick Pay for two weeks.

The Department for Communities has sought to reassure people who claim benefits that these will not be affected should they have to self-isolate due to the virus.

A spokesperson for the department said: “If people cannot attend an appointment at their Jobs and Benefits office and/or medical assessment centre because of self-isolation, they should let us know immediately.

“Nobody will be penalised for doing the right thing.”


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