Minister for Health Simon Harris has said a decision has been made today to make sure that every newly graduated doctor is offered an internship here. He said there are well over 1,000 graduates looking for a job here.
At a news conference, he said it is so important that we keep testing.
“We have made a conscious decision to test as many people as we can. This will mean a massive number of tests being done.”
Mr Harris said the private hospital sector has been engaging with the Health Service Executive in relation to the use of beds and facilities.
He said an agreement was being worked on and he said he does not believe there is a need to “take over” the hospitals.
He said there was approximately 1,900 beds in the sector and that that would need to be utilised by the HSE.
He added that they would need to source capacity beyond private hospitals. He said CEO of the HSE Paul Reid was looking at care facilities and hotels.
Earlier Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe insisted that any response from his department must be proportionate and consistent with public health policy.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Minister Donohoe acknowledged “the strain that the retail and many parts of our economy are under”.
However, he refused to be drawn on whether Government would cease VAT payments for businesses, or whether they would introduce a “decree” to force non-essential businesses to close down.
Mr Donohoe said that his Department was already planning for a recovery and said “we [have to] handle these matters in the same spirit that our public health crisis is now being handled at the moment – we have to be honest, while offering justified hope.”.
He added: “I think it’s also important to emphasise the ability that we have to recover. We can recover from this public health challenge.”
Mr Donohoe said that further announcements would be made later this week to alleviate pressure on people and businesses.
However, he pointed out that the the spread of the coronavirus is expected to grow and that there will be “a relentless campaign over the coming weeks and months to tackle the virus”.
It comes as Chief Executive of Retail Excellence David Fitzsimons forecast that another 200,000 more people will lose their jobs by the end of the week on top of the 140,000 who have already been put out of work because of restrictions arising from the cornavirus.
He called for, among other things, a decree today suspending all non-essential commerce, the introduction of a business boost grant and the suspension of VAT and rate payments for a year.
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