15,000 confirmed coronavirus cases expected by end of March - vast majority will not need hospitalisation says Taoiseach

Millions of Irish people could contract the illness said Mr Varadkar

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

abortion repeal the eight leo varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Up to 15,000 people could have tested positive for the coronavirus Covid-19 by the end of March the possibilty that millions of people could contract the illness but for the vast majority will not need to go to hospital to recover, according to the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Speaking on Monday evening, March 16 the Taoiseach said a 30% increase is expected every day in confirmed cases.

"We would expect that I you know by the end of the month or bean or maybe 15,000 people a tested positive for Covid-19 but again to emphasise most of those won't need any treatment.

"Most people will be well on they will be treated at home and the most important thing is that they stay at home for the 14 days so they don't infect other people so most people will will need little or no treatment other than fluids and paracetamol or maybe not even that but a proportion, a smaller percentage will need to be hospitalised, and a smaller percentage of those again of may need critical care ICU and that's the focus on that's why we're looking at space in the private hospitals also as you mentioned using hotels using other public facilities to expand about the capacity of our health service and number of beds and also had the equipment that we need and for those who may be ventilation. 

"But, it's ready for it emphasise that, yes, there will be tens of thousands cases maybe hundreds of thousands perhaps millions but the vast majority of those I will not need treatment will not need hospitalisation but some will and we need to make sure that it doesn't all happen at the same time.

"That is what flattening the (virus) curve is all about. It is not an absolute thing. It is not about locking down the country tomorrow. Shutting it down and stopping the virus spreading. That is not possible and that is not what has happened in Italy. But what is possible is to reduce the number of social interactions considerably an therefore slow the progress of the virus and therefore flatten the curve.

The Taoiseach, who is as medical doctor, said quarantine isn't the right strategy but the the right strategy is in social distancing which is not to eliminate all social contact and but to reduce it very considerably so that so the virus branch will spread but much more slowly.