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Coronavirus: Second person dies in Republic as 39 new cases confirmed

  • 129 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the Republic of Ireland
  • Trump extends US travel ban to include Ireland and the UK
  • State warns against non-essential travel to six more countries

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There have been 129 confirmed cases in the Republic (Michael Cooper/PA)

There have been 129 confirmed cases in the Republic (Michael Cooper/PA)

There have been 129 confirmed cases in the Republic (Michael Cooper/PA)

There are 39 new cases of coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland and a second person has died from Covid-19, the Department of Health confirmed this evening.

This brings the total number of cases in the Republic to 129, while 34 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Northern Ireland.

This comes as the US is expanding their travel ban to include Ireland and the UK amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Trump said there will be a ban on flights between the US and Ireland the Britain, two countries originally exempted from his 30-day ban on travellers from 26 European countries that took effect at midnight on Friday.

Meanwhile, Irish citizens have been advised against all non-essential traffic to six more European countries in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Tanaiste Simon Coveney announced the new measures for the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia today.

He said that further updates will be issued for Spain, which is recommended as essential travel only, while a travel ban remains in place for Italy.

Mr Coveney said that further travel disruptions are expected as countries attempt to contain Covid-19.

"A growing number of countries are also imposing restrictions on entry and exit.

"Given the consequences for travellers, Irish citizens should exercise a high degree of caution when making travel plans particularly in Europe.

"For this reason my Department is now advising against non-essential travel to the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia. We will also be providing additional guidance on Spain, which remains at non-essential travel, while Italy remains at no travel," the acting Foreign Affairs minister said.

He said that the consular advice line will be open through the weekend and that embassies and consulates will also be using social media to keep concerns citizens updated.

Meanwhile, after days of resistance, President Trump says that he has been tested for the coronavirus as the White House stepped up precautions after his direct and indirect exposures to Covid-19.

President Trump also told reporters at a White House briefing that he had his temperature taken before stepping into the room, and it was "totally normal".

The president had held out on testing for days, despite his interactions with at least three people who have since tested positive.

President Trump had said Friday that he would probably take the test at some point, but the White House doctor said as recently as Friday night that no test was called for because he was not exhibiting symptoms.

But the president said he had gone ahead with it after repeated questions from reporters at a news conference on Friday.

This comes days after Mr Trump met with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during his St Patrick's Day US visit.

On Saturday, the White House announced that it is now conducting temperature checks on anyone who is in close contact with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, including reporters attending the Saturday White House briefing.

The move is being taken as a precaution in response to the coronavirus outbreak, said Judd Deere, a White House spokesman.

President Trump has had multiple direct and indirect contacts with people who have tested positive for the pandemic virus last weekend at his Mar-a-Lago club on Florida.

On Friday, he declared a state of emergency as schools and workplaces across the country shuttered, flights cancelled and Americans braced for war against the health threat.

The Brazilian Embassy in Washington said late on Friday that the country's charge d'affaires, Nestor Forster, tested positive after sitting at President Trump's dinner table.

President Trump has been known to flout public health advice - and was eagerly shaking hands during an event on Friday. On Saturday, he said that he continued to do so out of habit.

Earlier today Taoiseach Varadkar said the response to the coronavirus outbreak is “complicated” by the North-South divide in Ireland.

He made the remarks as he arrived in Armagh for a meeting with the North’s First and Deputy First ministers Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill.

Five new positive cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Northern Ireland today.

Speaking as he arrived, Mr Varadkar said: "This virus knows no borders, knows no nationality.

"It’s a problem for all of us."

He added: "Our response to it is complicated by the fact that we have two jurisdictions on this island.

"But that is all the more reason why we have to meet, why we have to work together, to cooperate and share information and that’s what this morning is all about."

On Thursday the Irish government announced the closure of all creches, schools and universities in a bid to delay the spread of the disease.

Education facilities in Northern Ireland remain open.

DUP leader Ms Foster said at the time that the Stormont Assembly was disappointed it didn’t get prior notice of the Irish government’s measures to fight coronavirus.

Deputy First Minister Ms O’Neill has since said that she believes all schools and universities in the North must be "closed immediately."

She said: "I think the fact that there has been contradictory medical advice out there is a problem.

"It’s a problem for people when they’re trying to make the right decisions for them and their families so I believe given that is the situation hat we need to err on the side of caution."

Irish Independent