“You need not to get this disease, and you need to do that by keeping away from other people”. That was the expert medical advice given to the nation last night on RTE’s Primetime.

Top intensive care physician at University Hospital Limerick, Dr Catherine Motherway, issued a stark warning to the Irish people to take the Coronavirus seriously.

“There is seriously no heathcare service that could cope with Italy has gone through,” she warned. “Once you come to the ICU, one in five of my patients in my intensive care units lose their lives, and I don’t know the death rate from this disease yet because it is new ,” she warned.

Asked about the lack of intensive care beds in Ireland she said we were “roughly at half the European norm” with only half the beds Italy would have, and that this was a “significant problem” for the weeks ahead.

She this was “why we need people to take this seriously”. Dr Motherway said: “this is a virus, we know its near us, we know its in every county in Ireland, we know that if we don’t control the surge we will have a major problem coping.”

“There is seriously no healthcare service that could cope with what Italy has gone through,” she cautioned.

While the HSE had funded additional beds and hospitals had identified places where patients could be ventilated, the ICU physician said prevention was the best cure.

“But ideally you don’t need to get to see me. You need not to get this disease, and you need to do that by keeping away from other people. Two meters away, stay in your own home, wash your hands.”

“Once you come to the ICU, one in five patients in my intensive care unit lose their lives, and I don’t know the death rate from this disease yet because it is new,” she spelled out.

“You need to make sure, if you are young, that you don’t give it to your parents and your grandparents.”

“For the entire community, really think about this, keep away from each other, essentially we must treat each other like pariahs,” she said “to prevent what has happened in Italy from happening here.”