| 17.1°C Belfast

Perseverance at core of Varadkar's Easter message as fatalities in Republic hit 334

Close

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

The coronavirus death toll in the Republic of Ireland has risen to 334 after a further 14 deaths were reported yesterday, the National Public Health Emergency team has announced.

The country's Department of Health said that a further 430 new cases of the virus were reported by Irish laboratories yesterday. There were also an additional 297 confirmed Irish cases of Covid-19 reported by a laboratory in Germany.

There are now 9,655 confirmed cases in the Republic.

Of the 14 deaths, 10 had an underlying health condition. Twelve were in the east and two in the west.

There were six females and eight males with a median age of 80.

Yesterday Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Republic will face some of its darkest days in the weeks ahead as it battles to contain the spread of coronavirus. In a video message posted on Twitter, Mr Varadkar said that the country is preparing to reach its Covid-19 peak later this month.

"The number of hospitalisations and sadly the number of deaths continues to rise," he said.

"So, we cannot lose focus. We cannot lessen our efforts. In fact, we need to redouble them for the next few weeks. It's more important than ever that we persevere. It's possible that we haven't seen the peak yet. When it comes, perhaps later this month, we will experience some of our darkest days. So, we need to maintain our discipline and resolve in the knowledge that better days are to come."

Wishing the public a happy Easter, he added: "This is a special time of the year when we recall some of the major turning points etched into our national story - the Easter Rising, becoming a republic, the Good Friday Agreement.

"For many of us, Easter is a special moment in the Christian calendar, marking the resurrection, the Good News and what it means for the world.

"This Easter we reach another crucial point in our history - our fight against Covid-19. Thank you for heeding the advice of our experts, for interrupting the spread of the virus, sheltering the most vulnerable, protecting our health service and ensuring the staff who work in it have not been overwhelmed so far.

"Your actions are making a difference. The spread of the virus is slowing. So, today - whether we have faith or not - let us remember the Easter message, a message of suffering and sacrifice followed by rebirth and renewal, and above all a message of hope as winter turns to spring.

"When this emergency ends, we will mourn the dead, comfort the bereaved, and be together again. We will reawaken the sleeping giant that is our economy, our people will go back to work and our businesses will reopen, and taking what we've learned, we will build a better society at the end of this - a great society for a great people."

Belfast Telegraph