New coronavirus restrictions are being rolled across the Republic of Ireland as the country's rate of growth in new cases has become among the highest in Europe.
In a press briefing on August 18, Taoiseach Micheál Martin outlined new measures meant to help fight the spread of coronavirus in Ireland: “We are significantly tightening key restrictions for the next three and a half weeks until September the 13th.
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“Because the spread of the virus is increasing across a wide range of settings, these restrictions will impact on most of us.
“It is advised that all businesses should continue to facilitate remote working where possible.
“All visits to homes will be limited to six people from outside the home and from no more than three households, both indoors and outdoors.
“Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 15 people.
“Restaurants and cafes, including pubs operating as restaurants, can remain open but with mandatory restrictions on closing times of 11:30 pm.
“Sports events and matches will revert to behind closed doors with strict avoidance of social gatherings before and after events. Indoor and outdoor and training should follow the six indoor and fifteen outdoor guidance.
“Public transport should be avoided where possible. In the context of private transport, the wearing of face masks is advised where households are mixed.
“All State bodies with responsibility for monitoring, inspection, and compliance will intensify activities on an integrated basis.
“For over-70s, and those who are most vulnerable, will be asked to exercise their individual judgment to limit their interactions with a small network for short periods, to avoid public transport where possible, and to shop during designated hours.”
Speaking after the Taoiseach, Ireland’s Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that 190 cases of coronavirus had been newly reported in the Republic of Ireland on August 18.
Donnelly said: “We are at a tipping point. Ireland’s rate of growth in new cases over the last two weeks is the fourth highest in Europe.
“In the last two months, we’ve gone from a low of 61 cases in one particular week to 533 cases last week.
“We’re adding staff and capacity to make sure that test results come back as quickly as possible. We’re increasing enforcement of public health measures. We’re adding more protections for people in nursing homes, and we’re working on new measures regarding tourist trips from high-risk countries.”
Dr. Ronan Glynn, Ireland's acting Chief Medical Officer, said: "The key criteria for protecting our vulnerable, for ensuring that our education settings can reopen, for ensuring that healthcare services can continue, is suppressing community transmission and stopping widespread circulation of this disease in our communities.
"We are not there yet."
He added: "We are only going in one direction unless everyone acts together at this point and prevents widespread community transmission."
"The key criteria for protecting our vulnerable, ensuring that our education settings can reopen, for ensuring that healthcare services can continue, is suppressing community transmission ... we are not there yet" Acting CMO @ronan_glynn says | #Covid19 https://t.co/fncYQHiV8V pic.twitter.com/TeYeM3Qe33— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 18, 2020
You can watch the entire press briefing from today, August 18, here courtesy of RTE News: