Coronavirus: How it has affected Ireland day-by-day

Timeline of events tracks the progression and impact of Covid-19 since the first case

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar making his address to the nation in a rare live broadcast.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar making his address to the nation in a rare live broadcast.

 

A case of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China, was first reported to the World Health Organisation on December 31st.

Following further investigation, the patient was found to have contracted a strain of coronavirus. The new strain, later named Covid-19, had not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars).

The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern on January 30th. It is now affecting 173 countries and territories around the world.

There are hundreds of thousands of confirmed cases around the world and almost 9,000 people have died.

The first case was reported in the Republic on February 29th. Here we track the day-by-day progression of the virus and its impacts across the State.

February 29th
The National Public Health Emergency Team confirms the first case of a coronavirus infection in the Republic. A male teenager who had travelled from an affected area of Northern Italy was treated in a Dublin hospital.

March 1st
The Dublin school of the infected teenager, which has 400 pupils, announces it will close for two weeks. Public health officials order the move to minimise the risk of person-to-person transmission of the disease.

March 2nd
Some staff at Google in Dublin are told to work from home after a co-worker reports flu-like symptoms.

March 3rd
A second case of the coronavirus is confirmed in the east of Ireland. It is a female whose infection is unrelated to the first case, and is associated with travel from Italy.

The Government advises against all non-essential travel to four regions in Italy: Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont.

Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE and Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health. Photograph Nick Bradshaw
Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE and Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

March 4th
Ireland’s first cluster of coronavirus cases is confirmed after a family of four test positive for the disease in the west of the country, bringing to six the number of confirmed cases.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe signals the Government’s economic forecasts will be cut next month as the outbreak is predicted to have the potential to slow global growth to the lowest levels since the financial crisis.

March 5th
An additional seven cases of coronavirus are diagnosed, bringing the total number of cases to 13. Significantly, one is a case of community transmission.

March 6th
Five new cases of Covid-19 bring the total number of confirmed cases in the State to 18.

The UL Hospitals Group announces a visiting ban at six hospitals in counties Limerick, Clare and Tipperary as a precaution to minimise the spread.

March 7th
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the State rises to 19 after the virus is identified in a male in the east of Ireland.

March 8th
Two new cases of the coronavirus are confirmed by the HSE, bringing to 21 the number of confirmed cases.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid says he cannot dispute reported projections that up to 1.9 million people could become sick as a result of contracting the coronavirus.

The Department of Foreign Affairs warns Irish people against non-essential travel to parts of northern Italy, including Milan and Venice, after emergency measures to deal with the coronavirus outbreak were announced.

March 9th
Three newly discovered cases of coronavirus bring the total of confirmed cases to 24.

The new cases come after the Government agrees an aid package of €3 billion to deal with the public health and economic impact of virus. It also cancels all St Patrick’s Day Parades in a bid to curb the spread

March 10th
The Irish stock market slumps, bringing its losses over 11 days of trading to €22.7 billion. Dublin’s Iseq drops 6.4 per cent in an international markets session that is being described as “Black Monday”.

Ten new cases of coronavirus are reported, the biggest daily increase recorded since the disease was found here. The new cases bring the total number in the Republic to 34.

Ryanair and Aer Lingus say they are suspending all flights to and from and within Italy following the decision of the Italian government to lock down the entire country.

March 11th
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declares a coronavirus pandemic, warning that countries are not doing enough to stop the spread of the virus around the globe.

It comes as the first death of a person from coronavirus is confirmed in the Republic and the number of new cases increases by 9 to 43, up from 34.

The death of the patient, an elderly woman with an underlying health condition, occurred in Naas General Hospital, Co Kildare.

The Government advises against all non-essential travel to several parts of Spain due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

March 12th
Another 27 new cases are confirmed, bringing the total cases in the country to 70.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar orders the closure of all schools, colleges and other public facilities for at least two weeks.

The Government also recommends that indoor gatherings of more than 100 people – and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people – be cancelled.

The GAA, Camogie Association and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association suspend all activity at club, county and educational levels until March 29th. MCD Promotions postpones all shows and events.

March 13th
Most religious services across the State are cancelled or restricted, while the ESRI warns the Irish economy may fall into recession if the coronavirus outbreak persists for longer than three months.

In an unprecedented step, 325 recruit gardaí studying at the Garda College in Templemore are sworn into the force and become fully attested Garda members, including having the power of arrest.

The Revenue Commissioners suspends the application of interest on businesses’ late payments of VAT for the January-February return and late payments of employers’ PAYE liabilities for February and March.

It also says no debt enforcement activity will take place until further notice.

A further 20 new cases are confirmed, bringing the total cases in the country to 90.

Temple Bar pubs closed ahead of St Patrick’s Day. Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP Photo
Temple Bar pubs closed ahead of St Patrick’s Day. Photograph: Peter Morrison/AP Photo

March 14th
A male patient becomes the second Covid-19-related death in the Republic. The fatality comes after 39 new cases are announced, bringing total infections in the State to 129.

The Defence Forces indicates it will move to a “status yellow” force posture, with in the region of 330 troops available to aid the HSE response to coronavirus. About 800 more troops will be available on an hour’s notice.

The Department of Foreign Affairs advises against all non-essential travel to Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia. Ireland and Britain are added to the United States’ travel ban.

March 15th
The Government calls on all pubs to close until at least March 29th, while the Tánaiste calls on Irish tourists in Spain who want to fly home to do within a number of days after a plan is agreed with airlines and Spanish authorities.

Forty new cases of Covid-19 are confirmed, bringing the total in the State to 169.

Increased resources for mental health services and a ramping up of community groups’ capacities are among measures Government says it will examine to tackle the mental health impact of the coronavirus crisis.

March 16th
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warns of an “exponential increase” in cases of coronavirus as the confirmed number in the Republic increases by 54 to reach 223.

Mr Varadkar says he expects a significant increase in positive tests in the following days and weeks, with some 15,000 expected before the end of the month. He says the number of confirmed cases could rise by 30 per cent a day.

The HSE contacts the GAA after it offers the use of Croke Park as a testing centre.

Ryanair warns staff they are facing job losses and wage cuts amid fears the airline may be force to ground its entire fleet. Irish residents are advised against all non-essential travel overseas until at least March 29th.

The Department of Health confirms another 54 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total to 223.

March 17th
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar delivers a rare national address in which he warns elderly citizens and those with long-term illnesses will be asked to stay at home for several weeks as the Government grapples with the mounting crisis.

The Cabinet approves new enforcement powers to enable the State to close mass gatherings and venues with the force of law and also to enable the State to detain and isolate people on public health grounds.

The retail industry warns 340,000 people could be out of work in the sector by the end of the week.

A further 69 coronavirus cases are confirmed in the State, bringing the total number to 292.

March 18th
A further 74 cases of Covid-19 are confirmed, bringing the total to 366.

The heads of the State’s five banks promise to defer legal proceedings and repossessions against borrowers in default and extend payment holidays to homeowners and businesses.

Supermarkets across the State begin rolling out measures aimed at protecting customers and staff and ensuring there will continue to be sufficient supplies for all customers who need them.

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