Ireland bans household visits amid upsurge in Covid-19 cases
Level 4 restrictions will be introduced in three counties bordering Northern Ireland
- October 15, 2020 11:00
Three counties bordering Northern Ireland are moving to tougher restrictions under Ireland’s Living with Covid-19 five stage plan. Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan will face Level 4 restrictive measures from Thursday midnight until Tuesday 10 November while the rest of the country is placed under "enhanced Level 3 restrictions".
The Irish Government made the decision last night in response to the “very worrying” infection rate in the three counties which surpasses significantly the national figure of cases (190,7 per 100 000 people in the last 14 days) and the rapid rise of coronavirus cases in UK’s Northern Ireland.
Level 4 restrictions entail closing of all non-essential businesses including gyms, pools, leisure centres and some shops, banning social gatherings and visits to private homes and limiting weddings to six people. Working from home is encouraged. Schools and childcare services are to remain open even under Level 5.
Level 3 restrictions toughened
The "enhanced Level 3 restrictions" in force for the rest of Ireland mean an end to visits to houses or gardens unless for compassionate reasons or for childcare. Outdoor meetings are now restricted to six people from maximum two households. There will no longer be an exemption for club championships and sports training sessions can go on only where protective measures are in place.
Speaking to the nation, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Micheál Martin said that the country can get through this if people work together and adhere to the rules. Until there is a vaccine, normal life cannot resume and everyone's behaviour must reflect that, emphasized Martin, quoted by RTÉ.
Possibility of additional measures
The government hinted that it may consider additional measures after the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) reviews the latest Covid-19 trends later today. 1095 new cases of Covid-19 with 5 more fatalities were reported yesterday evening, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 45 243 and of deaths to 1 835. A positive sign is that hospital admissions with the coronavirus continue to fall.
Ireland's chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said that the latest trajectory of infections was "extremely concerning". He reiterated that people must stop mixing with others. "That means staying at home, working from home where possible, practising physical distancing and stopping discretionary socialising," he said, quoted by BBC.
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