The Bill providing fast-track welfare payments to the newly unemployed and the sick and that confers new security measures has passed all stages in the Dail and Seanad.
The emergency legislation to deal with the “unprecedented circumstances” caused by the coronavirus was rushed through all stages in the Dail on Thursday night.
It will go to President Michael D Higgins later on Friday to be signed into law.
It also confers new security and community measures that would give new powers of detention until November.
Social distancing matters. It is not a theory, it is a protection and we need to confront our families and our peers and our communities to make sure everybody takes that seriouslySimon Coveney
Under the draft new laws, authorities can order people to stay indoors, close down non-essential businesses and cancel events.
The Republic has taken strong measures on social distancing to try to curb rising numbers of those contracting the infection.
It came as another person died and 191 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the Republic on Thursday, bringing the country’s total diagnosed to 557.
The Bill was debated in the Seanad on Friday morning with fewer senators than usual allowed into the chamber due to social distancing measures.
Tanaiste Simon Coveney urged people to take social distancing seriously as it can save thousands of lives.
Speaking in the Seanad on Friday, he said: “Social distancing matters. It is not a theory, it is a protection and we need to confront our families and our peers and our communities to make sure everybody takes that seriously. If we do, we will save lives – thousands of them.”
Mr Coveney urged young and healthy people in particular to heed the advice.
“For those people who are not taking this seriously, we need to change the conversation to ensure that they do,” he said.
Let us make sure that detention is evidence-based. It is really important that people have advocacy available to them, especially those who have mental health needs Senator Alice Mary Higgins
Health Minister Simon Harris said throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, he will act solely on official health advice and will not be swayed by popular opinion.
Speaking in the Seanad on Friday, he said: “In the weeks ahead, we are going to make decisions – not based on political populism or what we see on social media – but based on public health advice.
“I will act on the advice of the chief medical officer and his team – they are true heroes and are all working really flat out.”
“Any decision we make will not be what the most convenient thing is but what the most appropriate thing is for our country.”
During the debate, Senator Alice Mary Higgins expressed concern at a section of the emergency Covid-19 Bill that allows a medical officer to order the detention and isolation of a person where a medic believes that the person is a potential source of infection and where they refuse to self-isolate.
The person must then be kept under review and a medical examination carried out “no later than 14 days after detention”.
Ms Higgins said: “At the moment somebody who is detained under the powers of the Bill based on an appearance that they may be a source of Covid-19, they are guaranteed medical examination within 14 days. Two weeks without medical contact is detention without evidence.”
“Let us make sure that detention is evidence-based. It is really important that people have advocacy available to them, especially those who have mental health needs.”