Ireland likely to extend shutdown as coronavirus toll rises

FILE PHOTO: The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dublin

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's chief medical officer said on Tuesday he did not expect to be able to recommend a lifting of severe restrictions on economic activity and the movement of people by April 12 amid a spike in the death toll from COVID-19.

"At this moment in time, we are not anticipating a recommendation later in the week that we should lift the measures that are in place," Dr Tony Holohan of the Department of Health told a news briefing on Tuesday.

On March 28, Ireland's prime minister ordered citizens to stay home until April 12 to help slow the spread of the highly contagious new coronavirus, telling them they could only leave to shop for groceries, for brief individual physical exercise or to make absolutely essential family visits.

Holohan said it was important to give the measures time to work and he wanted to "see the full benefit of the measures that were put in place...the Friday measures that really restricted the amount of movement in the population."

Ireland reported 36 deaths from COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, the highest number of deaths in a single day since the outbreak began, which brought the total to 210. There were an additional 345 confirmed infections for a total of 5,709.



(Reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by Mark Heinrich)