Ireland imposes tougher virus restrictions
Infection rates in the country are growing ‘exponentially’, says Prime Minister Micheal Martin
Ireland has announced a tightening of coronavirus restrictions lasting several weeks, as Prime Minister Micheal Martin said infection rates were growing “exponentially”.
“We must return to full-scale Level-5 restrictions for a period of at least one month,” Mr Martin said in a televised address, calling the situation “extremely serious”.
New measures include closing gyms and non-essential shops from Thursday evening, he said.
Mr Martin said this was necessary after a 61 per cent increase in confirmed cases in the past week.
“We will do what we need to do to suppress the virus,” he said.
Mr Martin said that from midnight on Wednesday, people “should stay at home except for travel for work, education and other essential purposes”.
From Wednesday evening, no social gatherings in any setting will be allowed, including New Year’s Eve celebrations, although small weddings and funerals can go ahead.
Schools will reopen but the new term will start on January 11, three days later than planned, Mr Martin said.
Ireland will extend a ban on travellers arriving from Britain until January 6.
The prime minister said previous lockdown measures introduced before Christmas were no longer adequate because of rising infections across all age groups and a sharp rise in the number of hospital admissions.
Ireland on December 22 announced coronavirus restrictions due to run until January 12, including the closure of hairdressers, restaurants and pubs serving food from Christmas Eve, except for takeaways.
The country, which has nearly five million inhabitants, has recorded 91,779 cases since the start of the pandemic including 2,237 deaths.
Updated: December 31, 2020 09:21 PM