Coronavirus spending may hit €34bn, the HSE has ordered additional ventilators to prepare for the worst and a guide to correct social distancing - Independent.ie reporters are bringing you the latest coronavirus stories you may have missed this lunchtime.
David Chance reports
The State has fallen behind the curve with its emergency measures to boost the economy and needs to step up spending including wage guarantees that that may have to cover 70pc of salaries for half a million workers over 20 weeks, business group Ibec said.
The report came out after Aer Lingus said it was to halve pay for its near 5,000 staff due to the sharp drop in travel due to the coronavirus.
“Other countries have been much more aggressive in terms of State credit guarantees, with many countries putting measures in place which would, if necessary, reach 10pc of gross domestic product,” Ibec said in its report.
The State’s GDP was €340bn in 2019 so that would equate to a total package of €34bn if the 10pc figure was implemented.
At present, the Government has put in spending plans worth €3bn which includes up to €2.4bn in income support for workers.
“Significant measures will need to be put in place in Ireland in order to guarantee liquidity and prevent escalation of cash-flow issues throughout the supply chain,” Ibec said.
Cormac McQuinn reports
THE Health Service is ramping up its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity in the face of the coronavirus threat, but needs the public to help reduce the pressure on hospitals by helping to battle the spread of the disease.
HSE boss Paul Reid made the comments as he said that the 300 ventilators have been ordered in anticipation of an expected increase in Covid-19 cases requiring hospitalisation and intensive care.
His remarks come after Dr Catherine Motherway of University Hospital Limerick wanted that Ireland's ICU capacity is lower than other countries and is a "significant problem".
“We have a limited amount of beds and we have been working very hard for the last number of weeks to try and increase capacity,” she told RTÉ's Prime Time.
Caitlin McBride reports
Like all brides, Melanie Murphy was looking forward to celebrating one of the biggest milestones in her life surrounded by family and friends.
But, like hundreds of other couples in Ireland and around the world, she had to make a pain-staking decision to cancel her dream wedding in favour of a smaller ceremony amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Ms Murphy is a well-known YouTuber and best-selling author and had documented her upcoming nuptials to pilot Thomas O'Rourke at length on her social media channels.
Their big day, which was scheduled to take place last Saturday at Wicklow's Ballybeg House, has been postponed indefinitely and instead celebrated with just two guests and a celebrant at a Dublin Registry Office.
"We really made the most of the 'official bit' because the big day had to be called off! It was simple, personal, special...stripping it all back made us realise that all the other frills aren't important," she told the Irish Independent.
"Of course, we were really disappointed at first, but we celebrated our love regardless of all that's going on, and we plan on taking this resilience into our future together."
Laura Elston, PA reports
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is leaving London for Windsor Castle on Thursday, as she socially distances herself amid the coronavirus pandemic.
She is heading for the sanctuary of her Berkshire home a week earlier than she normally would at this time of year, and is expected to remain there beyond the Easter period.
The Queen, 93, carried out official duties the day before her planned departure, but held her weekly audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the phone.
The UK monarch did, however, hold two face-to-face audiences at the Palace.
She greeted Captain Angus Essenhigh, who is the new commanding officer of the Royal Navy warship HMS Queen Elizabeth, and his predecessor Commodore Stephen Moorhouse, in her private audience room.
There were no handshakes, only bows, as they chatted on separate seats around the fireplace.
On Thursday, the Queen was meant to be carrying out an away-day of engagements in Cheshire, but the visit to Crewe and Macclesfield was postponed last week.
The Queen, who is understood to be in good health, will be based at Windsor with a reduced number of staff.