The Minister for Finance has told his Cabinet colleagues that extra spending on health to deal with the Covid-19 crisis will amount to up to €2 billion.

Paschal Donohoe also said that Social Protection measures including the Wage Subsidy Scheme, enhanced Pandemic Unemployment Benefit, plus sick pay and illness benefit will give rise to significant additional expenditure over a 12-week period.

This is beyond the €2.4 billion already budgeted for.

At the end of last week over 500,000 were in receipt of the Unemployment Benefit, almost 10,000 in receipt of illness benefit and almost 40,000 businesses registered with Revenue for the Wage Subsidy Scheme.

The impact on the public finances will be significant, he said.

However, Minister Donohoe said the State will be able to fund the increased deficit.

The Department of Finance is currently working on the Stability Programme Update that will provide an assessment of the economic and fiscal position.