Ireland to be placed under new Covid lockdown for six weeks

The decision has been taken to move the Republic of Ireland to level 5 restrictions. Credit: PA

Ireland will be placed in a second lockdown for six weeks in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Irish Government has agreed to impose the highest level of coronavirus restrictions from midnight on Wednesday for six weeks, until December 1.

The move to level 5 restrictions was described as “very, very serious” by the country’s premier Micheal Martin.

“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.”

The Fianna Fail leader announced the tighter restrictions in an address to the nation from Dublin on Monday evening after Cabinet ministers approved the measures.

Hairdressers will have to close. Credit: PA

What are the new lockdown measures in Ireland?

  • Pubs, restaurants and cafes will only provide takeaways and deliveries

  • Public will be asked to work from home, except for essential workers

  • People will have to restrict movement to 5km of their homes

  • No social or family gatherings in homes or gardens

  • Non-essential retail, hairdressers, barbers and salons will close

  • Funerals will be limited to 10 people

  • Weddings will be limited to 25 people

  • Schools and creches will remain open

  • Elite level sports can continue

  • Construction will be allowed to continue

Under the restrictions, 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”.

Mr Martin added that social isolation and anxiety were very “real issues” and therefore those living alone or parenting alone would be able to pair with another household as part of a “support bubble”.

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.

The restrictions will be in place until December 1. Credit: PA

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 December 1.”

The strict new measures come amid a record number of cases recorded over recent days. A further 1,031 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) on Monday, bringing the total to more than 50,000 for the first time. No new deaths linked to the virus were reported.