ESRI warns of recession as government plans temporary morgues

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ESRI warns of recession as government plans temporary morgues

The government is preparing to provide temporary morgue facilities in anticipation of a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.

A senior official in the Taoiseach department said that if such temporary facilities were made available, liaison arrangements would be made to assist the bereaved families.

Liz Canavan said it would be a critical week for the country in the fight against the pandemic, adding that the state was scaling up to perform 15,000 Covid-19 tests per day.

He intervenes when the Institute of Economic and Social Research predicted Thursday that the Irish economy will fall into recession this year, shrinking 7.1% following the coronavirus crisis.

Main points

In its latest quarterly assessment, the think tank said the Covid-19 pandemic was the biggest threat to the Irish economy since the financial crisis.

Assuming the closure measures remain in place for 12 weeks and the economy recovers thereafter, the institute said it expects the economy to contract by 7.1% in 2020. This follows growth of 5.5% last year.

“Consumption, investment and net trade would all drop sharply; households would cut spending, businesses would cancel or postpone investment and the external demand for Irish goods and services would drop, “he said.

Ms. Canavan, assistant secretary at the Taoiseach department and responsible for the government’s response to Covid-19, also said that a way to pay student nurses working during the coronavirus epidemic was being explored.

235 new cases of coronavirus were reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on Wednesday, the highest daily total since Ireland recorded its first case almost a month ago. The total number of cases is now 1,564 and the death toll is nine.

Ms. Canavan also said at a press conference that the evening schedules for Local Link bus services were suspended. Drivers will be redeployed to collect and deliver groceries and medical supplies to the elderly, sick and vulnerable in their local communities.

A chartered jet is being organized to repatriate Irish tourists stranded in Peru. Canavan said that any Irish citizen in Peru who was not in contact should immediately contact the Irish Embassy closest to Peru, which is located in Santiago, Chile.

In Dáil, a marathon session takes place to debate an emergency omnibus bill covering the measures of six ministries – Health, Housing, Justice, Defense, Social Protection and Finance.

Only one third of the 160 DT of the Dáil are present and seated two separate seats for the debate.

The public interest emergency measures provisions (Covid-19), which would normally take months to debate and promulgate, will give the government emergency powers to deal with the pandemic and alleviate the economic collapse.

The Dáil will end its debate at 8 p.m. to applaud the health workers on the front line of the Covid-19 crisis. It was agreed following a proposal from People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith.

The bill provides for a rent freeze for tenants, a ban on evictions and a pause in any notice of resignation already issued.

It also includes the temporary income support program of around 3.7 billion euros which runs until June 30 and which will be managed by the Revenue Commissioners, where the government will contribute to wage costs with a weekly subsidy to be passed on to the employees.