Irish Government Announces New Measures to Combat COVID-19
In response to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Ireland, the Irish government has announced new measures to combat the spread of the virus. The measures were announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in a national address on Tuesday evening.
From midnight on Wednesday, all non-essential retail will close, with click-and-collect services only permitted. Hairdressers, barbers, and beauticians will also close. Gyms, leisure centres, and swimming pools will close, while individual training will be permitted. Schools and childcare facilities will remain open.
People will be asked to stay at home except for essential reasons, such as grocery shopping, medical appointments, or exercise within 5km of their home. Public transport will operate at 25% capacity for essential workers and essential purposes only.
The measures will be in place until at least January 31st, with a review to take place on January 18th.
The announcement comes as Ireland experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases, with the highest number of daily cases reported on Monday. Hospitals are under increasing pressure, with over 600 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized and over 60 in intensive care.
The government has also announced a ban on travel from South Africa and South America, due to concerns over new variants of the virus. All travelers from Great Britain and other countries are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before entering Ireland.
The Irish government has faced criticism over its handling of the pandemic, particularly in regards to the slow rollout of the vaccine. However, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has defended the government’s actions, stating that the new measures are necessary to protect public health.
The new measures have been met with mixed reactions from the public, with some expressing frustration over the impact on businesses and mental health, while others support the measures as necessary to combat the spread of the virus.
The government has announced financial support for businesses affected by the closures, including a new COVID-19 business support scheme and an extension of the wage subsidy scheme.
The Irish public is being urged to continue following public health guidelines, including wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and washing hands regularly. The government has emphasized the importance of individual responsibility in combating the spread of the virus.
As the pandemic continues to evolve, the Irish government and public health officials will continue to monitor the situation and take necessary measures to protect public health.