Stephen Donnelly started experiencing COVID-19 symptoms on Tuesday afternoon before being tested for the disease. The speaker of the house said “the cabinet must self-isolate” due to the “very serious” nature of the matter. The Dail, Ireland’s parliament, will be suspended for a week. Sean O’ Fearghail, the speaker of the lower house, told parliament: “Arising out of events today, the cabinet must now self- isolate.
“Therefore, the possibility of proceeding with business does not arise and the house stands adjourned until Tuesday next or until I am directed (by the prime minister).”
State broadcaster RTE reported that Mr Donnelly had requested a COVID-19 test on Tuesday afternoon.
The country’s acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn has also gone into isolation, according to reports.
A spokesperson for Mr Donnelly told TheJournal.ie: “The minister for health began to feel unwell this afternoon.
“He contacted his GP and has been referred for a COVID-19 test.
“As per public health guidance, he is now self-isolating.”
On Tuesday Ireland reported 357 fresh infections.
This marked a significant jump from the daily average of 203 over the previous week.
The press conference came hours before three further COVID-19 deaths were added to the country’s overall tally.
The fatalities take Ireland’s coronavirus death toll to 1,787.
There have been a total of 31,549 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Sinn Fein TD for Kildare North, Reada Cronin, called out the government’s “double standards” when it comes to handling cases of coronavirus.
Ms Cronin tweeted: “I hope the cabinet ministers are ok but there’s real double standards here.
“Min feels unwell so whole cabinet to self-isolate and #Dáil suspended.
“Meanwhile schools remain open and parents of other students kept in the dark if pupil tests positive.
“Two-tier #Covid19 Ireland.”
Reports suggest journalists who attended the press briefing have not yet been told to self-isolate.
Aoife Grace Moore, political correspondent for the Irish Examiner, said: “Journalists who were at the press briefing today with Stephen Donnelly for over an hour have contacted the Department to ask if they too need to self-isolate and there is no official response from the Department as of yet.”
Tuesday’s developments came after Ireland’s minister for climate action, communication networks and transport, Eamon Ryan, had already gone into self-isolation.
A member of his household is awaiting results of a COVID-19 test.