Hundreds of millions of euro will be required to keep the private nursing home sector going during the Covid-19 crisis, according to the CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland.

Tadhg Daly is due to meet the Minister for Health Simon Harris tomorrow to request financial assistance for the sector.

Mr Daly said he will also be seeking commitments from the Government to provide the sector with PPE equipment, implement a system for responding to outbreaks in nursing homes and halt the recruitment of nursing home staff into the HSE

There are currently 14 clusters of Covid-19 in the more than 500 nursing homes throughout the State. 

Mr Daly said that, while this compares favourably to the 13 outbreaks in Ireland's 29 hospitals, such incidents are putting pressure on the nursing home sector 

There's approximately 30,000 residents in nursing homes in the State and a further 30,000 staff working in the sector. The majority of nursing homes in Ireland are privately run. 

Mr Daly said supplies of PPE in nursing homes has been "exhausted" and they want a commitment that each home is provided with at least three days' stock, with more allocated to those experiencing clusters

He also said staffing had become a challenge for the sector, with many workers in isolation awaiting test results. 

The Nursing Homes Ireland CEO said it was counterproductive for the HSE to be recruiting staff from this sector and he wanted an express commitment that this would stop. 

Mr Daly also said that clusters in nursing homes require a national response with a system being established to respond to these incidents.

Meanwhile Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, has urged the over 70s  and vulnerable people with a medical conditions to isolate themselves as much as possible.  

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week programme, Dr Holohan said, "we believe the virus is in the community and we need to drive it out of there."

"People have been fantastic to help us implement that and we are now asking people to go the extra mile by heeding the new restrictions. We hope we can reduce the number of infections substantially in the next two weeks." 

Dr Holohan said cases of coronavirus in Ireland are still increasing. 

"About 50% of the cases we are not able to pinpoint where the person picked it up from."

Dr Holan said the median age being infected here is about 45 while, among those who have died from coronavirus, the median is age 80.