At a glance: how do Ireland's Covid-19 restrictions compare with other countries?

At a glance: how do Ireland's Covid-19 restrictions compare with other countries?

China is tackling record high case volumes just weeks before Beijing hosts the Winter Olympics, with local-level lockdowns still happening as the country maintains its zero-Covid target.

Ireland’s Covid-19 restrictions are likely to be eased in the coming weeks as daily case numbers continue to drop.

Currently, our tightest rules surround hospitality, organised events and working from home – all of which are anticipated to be loosened in the near future. 

Globally, some countries are still reporting daily record-high case figures, while others have reached and passed the peak of the Omicron variant.

However, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week that "this pandemic is nowhere near over".

In England, Plan B restrictions introduced before Christmas to tackle the spread of Omicron will be eased as daily case numbers remain high but start to fall.

January 26 will see an end to work from home guidance, mandatory mask wearing in some settings and the use of Covid passes.

A woman wearing a face mask crosses Waterloo Bridge, London, after prime minister Boris Johnson announced that Plan B measures across England would be scrapped. 
A woman wearing a face mask crosses Waterloo Bridge, London, after prime minister Boris Johnson announced that Plan B measures across England would be scrapped. 

Meanwhile, most of Scotland's rules on indoor events will be lifted on January 24 with its outdoor event capacities already lifted.

In Wales, nightclubs will reopen on January 28, when the limiting of gatherings in pubs and restaurants to six people will also end.

This “rule of six” remains in Northern Ireland, where calls have been made to scrap this rule and current nightclubs closures in a bid to save the economy.

Germany is still approaching the peak of the Omicron variant, reporting case numbers of over 100,000 for the first time.

As the country’s restrictions tighten and case numbers increase, demand for forged vaccine passes has become a huge issue, with German police currently investigating more than 12,000 cases of such forgery.

The French education minister is under fire meanwhile for announcing increased restrictions for schools as the country reports record-high case numbers.

A medical staff takes the temperature to a child in a vaccine centre in Sélestat, eastern France.
A medical staff takes the temperature to a child in a vaccine centre in Sélestat, eastern France.

The new measures include increased testing for school-age children following a classmate testing positive, and French teachers went on strike on January 13 to oppose the move.

Italy’s Covid-19 restrictions have been changing rapidly in recent weeks as case numbers continue to soar to record-high levels, while the Swiss believe they’ve reached the peak of the Omicron variant and plans to extend current restrictions to the end of March are up in the air.

The Netherlands eased its month-long lockdown last weekend, but cultural venues remain closed until next week, sparking protests this Wednesday which saw museums and concert halls open briefly.

People get a haircut during a rehearsal at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on Wednesday, as Dutch museums, theatres and concert halls played host to businesses that are allowed to open to customers as a protest against their own continuing lockdown closures.
People get a haircut during a rehearsal at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on Wednesday, as Dutch museums, theatres and concert halls played host to businesses that are allowed to open to customers as a protest against their own continuing lockdown closures.

Poland has reported more than 30,000 daily cases this Wednesday for the first time since April 2021, leading to a debate on whether tighter restrictions are needed.

Its rules are quite relaxed in comparison to other EU countries, and only about 56% of the population have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria, where less than 30% of the population of 7m has been vaccinated, has reported a record 11,181 infections in a single day on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the world, people in Hong Kong are being warned not to kiss pets a mass cull of hamsters was ordered this week after 11 of the rodents bought from a pet shop tested positive for Covid-19.

A staffer from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department walks past a pet shop in Hong Kong, which was closed after some pet hamsters tested positive for the coronavirus.
A staffer from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department walks past a pet shop in Hong Kong, which was closed after some pet hamsters tested positive for the coronavirus.

China is also tackling record high case volumes just weeks before Beijing hosts the Winter Olympics, with local-level lockdowns still happening as the country maintains its zero-Covid target.

The Chinese capital recorded its first Omicron case over the weekend. 

India has reported 282,970 new Covid-19 infections over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 37.9m, second-highest globally after the US (67.7m).

No new restrictions will be imposed while hospitalisations remain under control, with the government aiming to vaccinate every eligible person by February 15.

Australia suffered its deadliest day this week, with 77 Covid-19 fatalities on Tuesday, with more deaths expected in the coming weeks.

The country’s government is waiving the visa application fee for any backpacker or student who arrives in Australia within the next 12 weeks, in a bid to reinforce its crippled workforce.

In the States, where cases are at a record high and continue to climb, 400m non-surgical N95 masks will be made available for free to the public starting next week.

More states have been imposing stricter mask requirements as the Omicron variant continues to spread across the country.

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