Ireland second national lockdown announced as Covid-19 cases surge
The Irish government agreed to impose the highest level of restrictions across the country for six weeks from midnight Wednesday.
Ireland’s PM described the to level five restrictions – some of the toughest in Europe – as “very, very serious.”
“There are no laws or powers that can change the nature of this virus,” he said.
“Many people have done everything that has been asked of them. But some have not. As taoiseach, I am asking everyone again to take this threat seriously.”
He announced the new lockdown in an address to the nation from Government Buildings in Dublin on Monday evening.
The restrictions ask people to stay at home or face penalties for movement outside a 5 km radius.
Only essential workers who are required in the workplace are permitted to travel to work. Those who can work from home must do so.
Restaurants, cafes and bars will be permitted to provide takeaway services only. Only essential retail may remain open.
However schools and creches will remain open, Mr Martin said, because “we cannot and will not allow our children and young people’s futures to be another victim of this disease”.
He added: “They need their education.”
No social gatherings are allowed in homes or gardens, including family gatherings. But visits on compassionate grounds and for caring purposes can continue.
The PM said, “enhanced financial supports” for individuals and businesses would be introduced to help people cope with the new measures.
He said he understood the “sense of disappointment, the feelings of loneliness, perhaps even the despair” that the announcement would bring for many people
“The days are getting shorter and colder but I ask you to remember this: even as the winter comes in, there is hope. And there is light,” he said.
Mr Martin added that if everyone pulled together, the country would be able to celebrate Christmas “in a meaningful way”.
“It won’t be the same Christmas that we have enjoyed in years past, but if we all pull together and follow the spirit of these new rules, it will be a very special time and will give us all some respite from the hardship of the last seven months,” he said.
“If each of us does what is asked of us for a period of just six weeks, we will suppress this virus and we will emerge from these restrictions on 1 December.”
Over the past week, Ireland has reported a record number of new cases. On Monday the total passed 50,000 after a further 1,031 were confirmed.
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