It has just been announced that there are 40 new cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland.

It brings the total number of cases in the Republic to 169.

Of the cases there are 23 males and 17 are females with 25 cases connected to the East of the country, nine to the West and 6 to the South.

Public health doctors are working to trace who the patients have been in contact with.

All pubs in the country are being asked to shut their doors tonight for the next two weeks.

Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said:

“In regard to upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, the Government is calling on all members of the public not to organise or participate in any parties in private house or other venues which would put other peoples lives at risk.

“Everyone is asked to reduce their social contact over this time period. House parties/ COVID parties carry the same risks as being in a pub/club, therefore people should not organise or attend them. The virus is now in our community, it is up to us to limit its spread,

“Now is the time for action and to heed the public health advise we will continue to provide.”

Rachel Kenna, Deputy Chief Nurse, Department of Health, said;

“Healthcare workers across the service are working under extraordinary conditions, preparing for the potential impact of COVID-19.

“If all citizens work together and comply with social distancing guidelines, and other measures the Government may take in the coming weeks, we will have a stronger response to this virus. Help our healthcare workers in their task. ”

The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet on Monday 15 March to continue its review of Ireland’s ongoing preparedness to COVID-19.

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