March 16, 2020 / 8:14 PM / 23 days ago

Irish PM expects 15,000 coronavirus cases by end of March

FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Prime Minister, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addresses a Friends of Ireland luncheon held in his honor on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland expects its number of coronavirus cases to increase to around 15,000 by the end of the month from 169 currently, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday, predicting it would be dealing with the pandemic for many months.

“We would expect that by the end of the month there would be maybe 15,000 people who would have tested positive for Covid-19, most of those will not need treatment but a proportion will need to be hospitalised and we need to make sure that it doesn’t happen at the same time,” Vardkar told a news conference.

Varadkar added that some 100,000 workers and maybe more could lose their jobs over the next couple of weeks and that he was confident banks will be able to offer forbearance to mortgage holders who lose their jobs.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Sandra Maler

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