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Coronavirus afternoon digest: Penneys expansion plans put on hold and the joy of digging - stories you may have missed

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Medical workers oversee the disinfection of the streets to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Qamishli, Syria (Baderkhan Ahmad/AP))

Medical workers oversee the disinfection of the streets to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Qamishli, Syria (Baderkhan Ahmad/AP))

Medical workers oversee the disinfection of the streets to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Qamishli, Syria (Baderkhan Ahmad/AP))

Penneys have put their Dundrum shopping centre expansion plans on hold and a professor advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak has warned that we'll have to adapt our lifestyles to the virus.

Independent.ie reporters are bringing you the latest coronavirus stories you may have missed today.

Penneys puts Dundrum expansion plans on hold

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Staying power: The Gym + Coffee clothing retailer opened as a pop-up shop in Dundrum Town Centre two years ago and is still there

Staying power: The Gym + Coffee clothing retailer opened as a pop-up shop in Dundrum Town Centre two years ago and is still there

Staying power: The Gym + Coffee clothing retailer opened as a pop-up shop in Dundrum Town Centre two years ago and is still there

Ellie Donnelly reports

Penneys has put on hold plans to expand at Dundrum Town Centre as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the economy.

In February it was reported that both Penneys – which trades as Primark in the UK – and Brown Thomas were in negotiations to split the retail space in Ireland’s largest shopping centre that is held by House of Fraser.

A Penneys spokesperson said: “In light of the current situation, all expenditure is being reviewed and these negotiations are on hold.

Our current priority is to support our people and the business through this pandemic and we look forward to resuming business as usual as soon as possible once our stores re-open.”

'The streets are extremely quiet, there is nobody around' - Prendergast on life in France during lockdown

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Home from home: Mike Prendergast has settled well at Racing 92, coaching fellow Munster men Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo. Photo: Baptiste Fernandez/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Home from home: Mike Prendergast has settled well at Racing 92, coaching fellow Munster men Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo. Photo: Baptiste Fernandez/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Icon Sport via Getty Images

Home from home: Mike Prendergast has settled well at Racing 92, coaching fellow Munster men Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo. Photo: Baptiste Fernandez/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Cian Tracey reports

A dark cloud hangs over the City of Light as heavily armed police roam the streets, ensuring that the country's lockdown remains firmly in place.

The hustle and bustle of Parisian life has been replaced by an eerie silence as people attempt to get used to a new reality that is anything but.

Across the city, stadiums lie dormant, including the La Défense Arena, which is so often the heartbeat of that particular area of town.

The home of Racing 92 perfectly encapsulates the razzmatazz associated with the flashy club, but that too has pulled down its shutters as Covid-19 rips through the country.

In typically hopeful romantic fashion, the French are confident they can get the Top 14 back up and running in the coming weeks, although there is a realisation that if it does restart, the make-up of the league will be have to be drastically altered.

'This is a long battle and we'll have to adapt our lifestyles' - professor advising government on coronavirus spread

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Warning: Philip Nolan Chair of NPHET Irish Epidiomological Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG) speaking to media at the Department of Health Covid-19 Press Briefing. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Warning: Philip Nolan Chair of NPHET Irish Epidiomological Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG) speaking to media at the Department of Health Covid-19 Press Briefing. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Warning: Philip Nolan Chair of NPHET Irish Epidiomological Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG) speaking to media at the Department of Health Covid-19 Press Briefing. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Gabija Gataveckaite reports

Ireland could be living with coronavirus for “quite some time” if lockdown measures succeed in slowing the virus from spreading, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) chair.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Professor Philip Nolan said that if strict restrictions on movement work, people will have to adapt their lifestyles to cope with the virus.

“Presuming that we succeed in living with the spread of the virus, we would be living with the virus for a quite some period of time and have to learn to adapt to how we live.

“This is a new disease - it didn’t exist last November, so how it will behave over the next few months is not yet clear,” he said.

“This is a long slow battle against a new disease and we’ll have to adapt our measures over time to help the disease behave in our community.”

Digging it: The beauty of an allotment in troubled times

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The great outdoors: Eoin Quinn with his two children Aidan (10) and Caoimhe (7) in his allotment near Bray Head. Photo: Owen Breslin

The great outdoors: Eoin Quinn with his two children Aidan (10) and Caoimhe (7) in his allotment near Bray Head. Photo: Owen Breslin

The great outdoors: Eoin Quinn with his two children Aidan (10) and Caoimhe (7) in his allotment near Bray Head. Photo: Owen Breslin

Eoin Quinn writes

There is a familiar rhythm to nature's calendar which has begun to play insistently in my mind during the last few weeks. As the newspapers and TV brim with stories and images of disease and infection, my windowsills begin to fill with recycled plastic food trays that slowly sprout straggly rows of tiny seedlings - undaunted by the grim news that fills each day and bursting with hope for the good times still to come in the wake of this savage spring.

I am a digger - I love to get out into my allotment and turn the soil. It's my way of dealing with the stresses that the world throws at me (and God knows we all have enough of them at the moment). There is something about the whisper of steel against soil as my spade slices through the sleeping turves, flipping the sod over to reveal the fresh, dark loamy soil, teeming with microscopic life and the promise of long, hazy summer afternoons of explosive growth.

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