A prolonged outbreak of coronavirus in the Republic could push the economy into recession, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has warned.

The think tank said the economy could shrink for the first time since the financial crisis if the country remained on lockdown for an extended period.

The institute’s Kieran McQuinn said that if the outbreak can be contained to a single quarter and “if by June/July things are returning to normal then the Irish economy should still register positive growth this year”.

However, if the issue and particularly the “lockdown” goes beyond that period “we’re looking at zero or even negative growth for the year”, he said.

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