Three counties in the Midlands are under fresh restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced the measures for Kildare, Laois and Offaly following a surge of Covid-19 cases.
In a special address to the nation on Friday, Mr Martin said the virus remains a “deep and urgent threat”.
#COVID19 remains a deep and urgent threat. It’s merciless and unrelenting.— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) August 7, 2020
We have to do everything we can to limit its spread and we have to keep putting the virus under pressure. pic.twitter.com/M9uknIGeiM
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said the reaction of the 400,000 people in the three counties will determine what health officials do next
What are the news restrictions for people in those counties?
- The new rules include restricting movement with the exception of work purposes and other essential journeys
- Restaurants and pubs serving food are to close, apart from takeaway services, deliveries and limited outdoor dining
- The closure of indoor entertainment and sport venues such as cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries and bingo halls.
- Visits to prisons, acute hospitals and nursing homes will be suspended except on compassionate grounds.
- People have been asked not to travel to those counties unless for work.
- Outdoor amenities including playgrounds will remain open with social distancing.
Shops can remain open with the wearing of face masks, and childcare facilities and schools that are open can remain open.
“Households in these counties are asked to restrict visitors to their homes to no more than six people from no more than three households,” Mr Martin said.
“Outdoor gatherings should be limited to 15 for organised activities.”
Dr Glynn noted that as of Friday evening there had been 289 cases of coronavirus recorded in counties Kildare, Laois and Offaly over the last 14 days.
Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald responded to the move by claiming communities are “paying the price for lack of testing and inspection at meat plants and Direct Provision centres.
“This must be urgently addressed. The community must be protected.”
The GAA has suspended all activity in the three affected counties, including all collective training, matches, face-to-face meetings and summer camps.