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Irish naval vessel to become a Covid-19 testing centre

The LE Samuel Beckett is berthed on the Liffey River in Dublin city centre.

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An Irish naval vessel is to become a Covid-19 testing centre (Niall Carson/PA)

An Irish naval vessel is to become a Covid-19 testing centre (Niall Carson/PA)

An Irish naval vessel is to become a Covid-19 testing centre (Niall Carson/PA)

An Irish naval vessel is being transformed into a Covid-19 testing centre.

The LE Samuel Beckett is berthed at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay on the Liffey River in Dublin city centre.

Hundreds of cases of the virus have been recorded in Ireland.

Army engineers provided power and lighting for the vessel, while others erected tents along the quayside close to the central bank.

It is part of a major effort by the Defence Forces to support the health service’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, President Michael D Higgins signed into law emergency health legislation giving the power to impose detention and other measures.

The Republic has taken strong measures on social distancing to try to curb rising numbers of those contracting the virus.

But large numbers of young people were seen socialising in Dublin’s popular Temple Bar nightlife hub despite a high-profile warning against gatherings a short time earlier from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Under the new law, the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020, the authorities can order people to stay indoors, close down non-essential businesses, cancel events and have the ability to impose targeted restrictions on specific areas of the country.

Meanwhile, staff based at Tesco’s Republic of Ireland stores will receive a 10% bonus on their hourly rate.

It will be backdated to March 9 and continue until May 1.

More than 10,000 people in Ireland have now been tested for the virus, RTE said.

Dr Colm Henry, chief clinical officer with the Health Service Executive, said it was “focused completely” on identifying cases and contacts and isolating patients.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has been informed of 102 new confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland. There are now 785 confirmed cases.

PA